No team orders for Loeb and Hirvonen in Finland says Citroën Total World Rally Team boss Yves Matton.
Mon 06.08.12, 3:03PM
Citroën Total World Rally Team head Yves Matton has confirmed his drivers Sebastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen are free to fight it out for victory on Neste Oil Rally Finland.
With four stages of the high-speed gravel event remaining, FIA World Rally Championship leader Loeb heads Hirvonen by 7.4s. While Citroën has ordered its drivers to maintain position in the past, Matton said that would not be the case on the Jyvaskyla-based round, which concludes this evening.
“They know it since New Zealand that in Finland due to the position in the championship and the fact this is always a rally where the gaps are very, very close, they will be free to do what they want until the end,” said Matton. “That’s also the reason why they pushed very hard on Friday because today is a long day, approximately half the rally and with two passes of Ouninpohja.”
Matton said he expected that a close battle between his star performers would rage until the end of the 18-stage event, adding: “If we do not take the time from the last stage [on Friday] when Mikko had a problem with a sensor and had to use the clutch, the gap would have been only three seconds, which is nothing. During the day they were so close with some stages better for one and other stages better for the other. That makes a difference and there is no reason why Mikko can’t win. He understands the car and is very happy to drive the car.”