Interview with Mikko Hirvonen

Sebastien Loeb collected his 49th World Rally Championship win in Norway last weekend, much to the frustration of his chief rival Mikko Hirvonen. The pair were never separated by more than 15 seconds, but, once again, it was the Citroen driver who triumphed over the Ford man. Autosport asked the Finn when he is going to put one over the Frenchman

Interview with Mikko Hirvonen

Q. You keep saying you're not going to let Sebastien Loeb get away and win another rally, but he keeps doing it. When are you going to beat him?

Mikko Hirvonen: I can't say when it's going to be, but one thing is for sure, I'm not going to give up. Every rally I go to, I go to win. The only thing I can say is that there's only one person beating me in the World Rally Championship and that's the guy who is the fastest driver. I have to take something from that.

I have to do it soon, though. My son is three and a half years old and he plays with his cars at home. As he's pushing one car along, he's saying: 'This is Sebastien Loeb, he's very hard to beat...' I've got to beat him soon, or my son's going to think he's impossible to beat.

Q. How do you beat him?

MH: I learned in Norway that there's only one way to do this and that's by making no mistakes and getting every single corner perfect. It's the only way. He does it and until I start doing it, I'm not going to beat him.

Q. That's easy to say, but when you're absolutely on the limit...

MH: I know. It's such a fine line. You are taking massive risks, you're risking everything in every corner - you know, driving absolutely as fast as you can through every bend. It's a fine line between getting it absolutely right and crashing off the road.

Q. Were you on the limit all the time in Norway?

MH: I think so, yes. And the incredible thing is that both Sebastien [Loeb] and I were on the limit and we didn't go off the road or go straight on at a junction or anything. Given the speed we were driving, I'm surprised that one of us didn't crash.

Q. Where did you lose Rally Norway, then?

MH: The second stage on Saturday. I thought I had driven a pretty good stage, but then I saw his time - it was incredible. For me, there were too many stupid, silly little mistakes. I would run a tiny bit wide in this corner or clip a snowbank on the exit of that corner - that's where the time went and that's what I have to stop to beat him.

Q. How do you feel when he wins again?

MH: Well, of course, I don't like it. I hate it. But, like I said, I know I drove a very good rally and I did my best.

Q. And you had fun...

MH: Oh yes, I had an incredible week. Really, the rally was fantastic.

Q. Best winter rally ever?

MH: Absolutely. Those were the best snow stages I've ever driven on.

Q. So, another Loeb win?

MH: Yes, another one for him. I know that if I beat him, it's going to be a great feeling.

Q. When you beat him...

MH: Absolutely. When I beat him...

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