WRC Finland: Mikko Hirvonen fastest in qualifying
|By David Evans||Wednesday, July 31st 2013, 17:51 GMT|
Mikko Hirvonen made the perfect start to his home round of the World Rally Championship with fastest time at Rally Finland qualifying.
The Citroen driver won the 2.8-mile Ruuhimaki stage by 0.248 seconds from runaway WRC leader Sebastien Ogier, who felt the suspension set-up on his Volkswagen Polo R WRC was not completely dialled into Finland.
Belgian Thierry Neuville turned in an impressive third quickest time on only his second attempt at the event in a World Rally Car, and could have been quicker still.
"I almost stalled on the line," said Neuville. "After that, I pushed as hard as I could."
Evgeny Novikov, Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen rounded out the top six, with Latvala not unduly concerned at his fifth quickest time.
"Running order is not so important here," he said. "The time is OK, I'm not so worried."
Running order for Thursday's stages will be decided later this evening, with Hirvonen confessing he had no idea where he would be on the road due to the changeable weather conditions.
"I don't know what to do," he said. "We will talk in the team and think about things. The weather doesn't make it easy."
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen 2m15.516s 2. Sebastien Ogier VW 2m15.764s +0.248s 3. Thierry Neuville M-Sport Ford 2m15.953s +0.437s 4. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford 2m16.016s +0.500s 5. Jari-Matti Latvala VW 2m16.258s +0.742s 6. Andreas Mikkelsen VW 2m16.490s +0.974s 7. Mads Ostberg M-Sport Ford 2m16.877s +1.361s 8. Juho Hanninen Hanninen Ford 2m16.933s +1.417s 9. Dani Sordo Citroen 2m17.351s +1.835s 10. Kris Meeke Citroen 2m17.422s +1.906s