Mikko Hirvonen says he has been boosted by being in the WRC title fight

Mikko Hirvonen says his return to the fight for this year's World Rally Championship will bring more speed than ever from the Finn

Mikko Hirvonen says he has been boosted by being in the WRC title fight

Hirvonen admitted he thought his chances of this year's championship were finished in the middle of the year, but he says he's determined to make the most of the opportunity which has been presented to him, courtesy of Sebastien Loeb's difficult recent run of form.

Hirvonen said: "I'm happy to be in this position after everything that has happened this year. Okay, Sebastien has had bad luck and I did not think I would be in the position with two rallies to go. But everything is possible.

"When you get in a position when you have to fight that's when I always find a bit more from myself. I believe if I can find the rhythm and the speed I can do it.

"There were times, already in Finland, when I thought Loeb really needs to have bad luck to give us a chance to get back in the fight. Surprisingly that's what happened and here we are."

Hirvonen added that his performance on Rallye de France, where he finished third but more than three minutes off the pace, was not representative of what the Finn and his Ford Fiesta RS WRC are capable of.

"I've just been saving it [the pace]," he said. "In France, many people were saying I had no speed. In France there were more people worried about it than I have been. It was a strange rally for me because it was all over for me when I made my own mistake.

"Suddenly Loeb was out, but I knew if I made a mistake I could lose everything. I was never in a proper pace, in a proper speed or in a fighting mood. Now there is nothing else I can do and even if I am not comfortable pushing like hell I have to. I could bin it or crash in first stage but at least I am going to try."

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