M-Sport World Rally Team’s Mikko Hirvonen is enjoying one final fight in the FIA World Rally Championship – battling for a podium position on the series’ traditional finale.
Wales Rally GB brings some of the most challenging conditions of the year and today’s action proved to be no exception. Contesting eight stages in the heart of some of Wales’ most iconic forests, mud and rain were the order of the day – but that wasn’t going to stand in the way of Hirvonen and his devoted co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen.
Setting a consistently strong pace, the pairing looked at one behind the wheel of their Ford Fiesta RS WRC; and as the conditions became more challenging, the Finns came into their own. The duo posted a string of competitive times throughout a difficult afternoon loop. Regularly just a handful of seconds adrift of the fastest times, their pace paid dividends and they climbed into a podium position through the second pass of Dyfi (SS6). Hirvonen is keen to bid a fond farewell to the championship with a positive result, and is looking forward to continuing the fight tomorrow.
Mikko Hirvonen (3rd) said:
“I’m really happy – it’s been a good day, although definitely not an easy day! The conditions have been changeable and it’s been really slippery out there. We had to make some changes with the car as we weren’t completely happy with the set-up through all of the stages, but we came through holding third place which is great. “To finish my career on the podium would be really cool, but there is still a long way to go and a close fight with the guys behind. I think tomorrow will be similar to today. Okay the stages are a bit shorter and the character is quite different from one to the next, but I think it could be another good day for us.”
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“Mikko [Hirvonen] has done a great job and he’s in a good position going into tomorrow. He has plenty of experience of those stages and the sorts of conditions that we have experienced today. I’m confident that he can continue to set a good pace so let’s see what he can do. Of course there is still a long way to go, but it would be so fitting for him to finish his last rally with a podium.