Everything just clicked for Mikko Hirvonen today – with the exception of the first special stage, which starts in couple of hours. Citroën ace was fastest driver through the qualifying stage and had the privilege of picking the desired starting position first. Not surprisingly, he opted for the back of the starting grid, so Friday stages will see him start from the 13th spot. To make things even better for Miko, he finally felt comfortable in the car, so hopefully all issues he had in Monte Carlo and Sweden are thing of the past.
For Miko and Citroën, Mexico presents a perfect opportunity to close the gap to Sebastien Ogier and Volkswagen, before that gap starts growing beyond reach. Ultra experienced team and the driver who is no stranger to gravel, all ingredients are here, it’s up to Mikko to cook a nice points soup.
Dani Sordo managed sixth place in qualification run, and he is confident, which is pretty big thing in Mexico. Below are Citroën pilots’ reaction to qualifying stage.
After setting the fastest time on the first run in free practice, Mikko Hirvonen went quickest again in qualifying: “I’m very pleased with this start, although it wasn’t essential to set the fastest time. I felt comfortable in the car and I drove perfectly. Everything went well and so we can choose the best starting position. The gravel seems to be a bit rougher than in previous years, so we’ll have to watch out for the large rocks which can cause punctures.”
Sixth in qualifying, Dani Sordo was less pleased with his morning’s work: “We worked hard with the team to improve the car with each run. Mikko drove really well… and clearly, I didn’t drive quite as well! But it’s not that bad, really. There’ll be plenty of cars in front of us to sweep the loose gravel. I’m expecting a difficult rally, with a lot of changes in pace. Sweeping will be a key factor on the first runs.”
Competing in the Abu Dhabi Citroën Total WRT’s car, Chris Atkinson set the eighth fastest time: “I was fairly cautious this morning, because I found this stage particularly tricky. I’m very happy to be back with the Citroën Racing team and I hope I can gradually improve over the course of the weekend and secure a good result.”