Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen have finished as runners-up at the fourth round of the FIA World Rally Championship. Although gaps formed between the leading two, the pair held steady throughout the final leg of Rally de Portugal to secure another podium finish.
Mikko Hirvonen, said: “Second place is always a good result, but I must say that I hoped to be a bit quicker here”. The Citroen driver said much progress has been made since qualifiers in Rally Mexico in March, but would like more time to work on suspension settings.
“We need to keep working, especially to improve the performance in the fastest sections”, he added.
Starting in third position at the rally, the Citroen driver aimed to hold onto that placement throughout the race. However, he managed to advance a position when Ogier and Latvala lost time on the Silves loop.
Dani Sordo and Carlos del Barrio enjoyed a victory at the race as well. After rejoining the competition under Rally2 rules, the drivers scored two additional points for the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team (WRT).
The Rally de Portugal was a tough win for Hirvonen and Lehtinen. A recently implemented tyre restriction was in place, which limited the amount of tyres teams could use for each car. Crews were forced to manage tyres as effectively as possible, considering conditions and race standing.
Mikko Hirvonen claimed he was not troubled by the tyre restrictions, saying he and his team managed the quota “pretty well since the start of the rally”.
Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen driver, Khalid Al Qassimi, finished the rally on a positive note as well, as he completed an error-free race. “I’m pleased to have made progress with my driving style on the last few stages”, he said.
Yves Matton, Citroen racing team principal, congratulated his team: “We have not only shown that our car is still the most reliable in the field, but we have also managed to improve its performance level whilst adapting it to the style of our drivers”.
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