Hirvonen wins Portugal superspecial
|By Matt Beer||Thursday, May 27th 2010, 21:01 GMT|
Mikko Hirvonen took an early lead in the Rally of Portugal by winning this evening's Algarve Stadium superspecial.
The works Ford driver edged out Munchi's Ford's Federico Villagra - who had looked set to give his team the lead of a World Rally Championship for the first time after a superb time on his run - by 0.1 seconds right at the end of the night.
Having drifted away from arch-rival Sebastien Loeb in the championship since winning the season-opener in Sweden, Hirvonen hoped that this superspecial win would bode well for the rest of the weekend.
"It's really nice to win a stage like this," said Hirvonen. "It's a good start, but tomorrow is a different day. I'm going to take it easy and steady, with no panic, and see how it goes."
Behind star performer Villagra, Petter Solberg was third in his self-run Citroen, followed by the factory C4 of Dani Sordo.
Citroen number one Loeb took a more cautious approach to the short asphalt stage and was back in eighth - but only 1.5s down on Hirvonen.
Similarly while the Finn's Ford team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala was right down in 11th having admitted his run was less than perfect, he still starts tomorrow's full-length stages within 2.3s of the rally lead.
Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. Mikko Hirvonen Ford 2m09.3s 2. Federico Villagra Ford + 0.1s 3. Petter Solberg Citroen + 0.7s 4. Dani Sordo Citroen + 0.8s 5. Henning Solberg Ford + 0.9s 6. Sebastien Ogier Citroen + 1.0s 7. Matthew Wilson Ford + 1.2s 8. Sebastien Loeb Citroen + 1.5s 9. Kimi Raikkonen Citroen + 1.7s 10. Ken Block Ford + 1.7s