M-Sport World Rally Team’s Mikko Hirvonen is on course to secure a strong haul of points at the 50th edition of RallyRACC – Rally de España. The Finn currently holds fifth place overall and is in the hunt for a coveted podium position.
Following yesterday’s spectacular Super Special in the shadow of Barcelona’s famous Montjuïc fountains, the event resumed with a day of six predominantly gravel speed tests on which Hirvonen and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen showcased the best of their professional partnership.
As the late summer sun beat down on the loose-surface stages, dust made visibility an issue. Trusting his pacenotes, the Finn piloted his Ford Fiesta RS WRC to a strong fourth place after the morning loop – just 0.3 seconds adrift of the third-placed crew.
Despite losing out to a resurgent Andreas Mikkelsen throughout the afternoon loop, the Finn remains on course to defend his fourth place in the drivers’ standings. Just 4.8 seconds adrift of second place, Hirvonen will be looking to make further gains on his championship rivals as the action resumes on asphalt tomorrow.
Mikko (5th) said:
“I think today has been pretty good. We’re not so far behind second place and there are many drivers that are really close so I think we can have a really good fight tomorrow.
“One of the hardest things in this rally is switching from one surface to the other overnight. I’m going to have to be awake in the morning to be able to change the rhythm and be competitive on Tarmac. That switch has to happen straight away.
“Of course the Volkswagen’s are really strong on Tarmac, but anything can happen so let’s see what we can do.”
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“I think Mikko [Hirvonen] has had a really good day. He’s in what looks set to be a very close battle for the final podium positions and it’s great to hear him so upbeat at the stage ends. His confidence is high, and he’s looking forward to tomorrow’s Tarmac stages.