Q & A with Mikko Hirvonen

Having brought the title fight back to life with victories in the last two rounds, the factory Ford team has just completed a four-day test for this week's inaugural Rally Poland

Q & A with Mikko Hirvonen

AUTOSPORT talked to team leader Mikko Hirvonen, winner of the previous round of the World Rally Championship in Greece and Sebastien Loeb's biggest challenger this season, about his expectations for this weekend's event and the rest of the championship fight.

Q. You've just done two days of testing in Poland, how did it go?

Mikko Hirvonen: It was okay. There was nothing special. It was good to get back into driving on faster roads after Greece; good to find the fast feet again. The cars was working well, we have no new parts or anything like that. The car didn't have any problems for me or Jari-Matti [Latvala, team-mate, who tested for two days prior to Hirvonen].

Q. How fast was the test road?

MH: Finland fast. I think the stages over here are going to be about the same sort of speed as Finland, but they're quite a lot narrower and quite sandy as well. The roads are really soft. I think we could spend this whole rally running in the ruts, certainly the test road was destroyed pretty quickly.

Q. Would some rain on the event help the surface?

MH: I don't think so, I think they're too soft. If it rains - and I think there is some forecast for Friday night - then it would make it really tough to be first on the road on, really slippery. It wouldn't really help for the ruts, either.

Q. How do you think Sebastien Loeb will bounce back from his Acropolis crash?

MH: It won't take him long to find his speed again. Maybe for one stage he'll be looking for it, but after that he'll be right back there again.

Q. Loeb generally takes a more cautious approach to the first loop of stages, particularly on a new rally. What will your approach be?

MH: I will try to go flat out from the start. New rallies are usually pretty good for me, so I'm hoping that will continue again in Poland. The good thing is that these roads are going to be quite fast and I like fast stages. It's like this until the end of the season now. We have four gravel rallies left, and they're all going to be pretty fast roads - just the kind of roads I like.

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