Hirvonen relishing Loeb partnership
Mikko Hirvonen says his first season as Sebastien Loeb's team-mate has been an exciting experience and is helping to improve him as a driver.
Speaking prior to the Qualifying Stage for Wales Rally GB, round 10 of the FIA World Rally Championship, Hirvonen said he was thoroughly enjoying his stint with the Citroen Total World Rally Team following his switch from rival squad Ford at the end of last term.
“It’s really nice,” said the Finn, who has twice lost WRC title deciders to Loeb on Rally GB. “I was really keen to jump into the Citroen team because it has given me the chance to compare data and see how [Sebastien] is driving and what kind of differences there are. It’s been a really exciting year for me.”
Hirvonen’s contribution to the team has also been well documented. Speaking prior to last month’s ADAC Rallye Deutschland, Citroen technical head Xavier Mestelan-Pinon, said: “Our two drivers are very complementary and they often provide very similar technical feedback. If Seb leaves an element to one side that he thinks we can’t really improve, Mikko might be able to work on it, using his experience and feel. Sometimes, this works so well that Seb ends up adopting and enjoying the upgrade, and vice-versa.
“When we ran tests in Finland, Mikko knew exactly which points we needed to work on, such as how the car handled on a given jump. Conversely, during tests for Germany, he didn’t need to make the slightest change to the set-up, since all the work had already been done by Seb. Being able to count on two such drivers is a real joy for our team.”