Hirvonen praises new Finland route

World Rally Championship leader Mikko Hirvonen says he is delighted with the Rally Finland organisers' decision to re-draw the third and final day of the Jyvaskyla-based event to include the Myhinpaa stage and believes this will guarantee a thrilling finish to the event

Hirvonen praises new Finland route

The Finn, who has won the last two rounds of the WRC to overhaul Sebastien Loeb in the race for this year's drivers' title, rates the 15-kilometre test as highly as the legendary Ouninpohja stage. Reckoned to be among the best stages in the world, Ouninpohja was so good that Colin McRae named his racehorse after it.

Ouninpohja was removed from the Rally Finland route last year, after speeds on the stage in 2007 were rising so dramatically, the organisers feared for crews' safety.

"This year's route is looking very good for Finland," said Hirvonen. "Of course, it's a shame that we still don't have Ouninpohja - but Myhinpaa is certainly going to make the final day very exciting.

"Myhinpaa is quite similar to Ouninpohja. It's not so long at 15 kilometres, but it is really fast and wide. As it's not so long, maybe you can't make the big difference there - but it's certainly going to be a big fight on this stage."

The Myhinpaa test is well known in Finland, but this will be the first time it has appeared on a modern round of the world championship. It used to be twice the length, but Hirvonen is not concerned at the decision to only use half of it.

"They've got the right half," he said. "They have definitely picked the fastest 15 kilometres. It's going to be fantastic."

Former world champion co-driver Robert Reid knows the Myhinpaa test well, having co-driven Richard Burns down that stretch on many occasions. Reid agreed with Hirvonen's appraisal.

"We never drove that road in competition, the organisers never used it when we were there," said Reid. "But Richard always wanted to use Myhinpaa as his confirmation test before the rally. We'd do it the day before the recce started as a way to get ourselves back up to speed with Finland.

"It's an amazing stretch. I remember it well, it's got everything: nice wide road, drop-off jumps, table tops, it'll be mega."

Myhinpaa will be run twice on Sunday. There are two other new stages for the July 30-August 2 event: SS18 Kavala and SS19 Vaarinmaja. Seven of the stages remain untouched from last year, while four others have been modified for this month.

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