Mikko Hirvonen insists that his chances of winning the 2013 drivers’ title are very much alive.
After three rounds of this year’s World Rally Championship, the Finn, who drives for the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi squad, is third in the drivers’ standings, 44 points adrift of leader Sebastien Ogier.
But as he prepares for next week’s fourth round in Portugal, Hirvonen denied that he had given up on his title dream.
“No, of course not! It’s true that Sébastien Ogier has made a perfect start to the season, but there are still ten rallies left,” he said.
“Although we haven’t looked entirely convincing recently, we are going to do everything to improve our fortunes.”
Hirvonen struggled to get comfortable in his DS3 World Rally Car on the last round in Mexico, but is feeling more confident after the team’s pre-rally test in the Algarve. “I can’t go into details about what we worked on, but the fact is that we have improved the set-up. The car slides less and I felt more confident driving it,” he explained.
“As ever, we must be cautious, because the conditions of the rally won’t necessarily be the same as those we had in testing…”
Hirvonen’s pre-event preparations will continue on Saturday 6 April, when he takes part in the Fafe Rally Sprint.
Rally de Portugal gets underway on Thursday 11 April, with qualifying for the all-important day one road position scheduled to start at 1040hrs.
“To win this season, we’ll need to have a perfect rally, starting with the qualifying stage,” added Hirvonen. “I only have one target this weekend: I want to be fighting for the lead from the very start.”