M-Sport World Rally Team’s Mikko Hirvonen is back where he belongs; fighting for the podium at this week’s Rally Poland. Unfortunately, there was less good news for his team mate Elfyn Evans who was forced to cut short an impressive drive when he became one of numerous crews caught out by a rogue rock on SS14.

Despite having made his pacenotes too slow for the quick-paced roads, M-Sport’s resident Finn refused to give in. Focused on the task in hand, Hirvonen did not let the situation distract him – his experience and determination paying dividends as his times improved throughout the day.

Having studied all of the onboard videos in detail yesterday evening, he and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen significantly improved their pace over the morning loop; and when others were caught out by the tricky nature of the stages, Hirvonen held his own.

Using the first pass as a high-speed recce, the M-Sport man was able to make further gains over the afternoon and reduced the seconds per kilometre ratio to the leaders considerably. Currently holding fourth place overall, the Fiesta driver is just 10 seconds shy of a podium position.

Mikko Hirvonen (4th) said:

“It’s been tricky today as well. It’s been a lot better than it has been, but I was still struggling with the notes throughout the whole day. We managed to identify a lot of corrections this morning but we just didn’t have time to correct everything.

“We’re pretty close to that podium position and anything is possible. Thierry [Neuville] has been driving well today and Jari-Matti [Latvala] has been flying so I think it’s going to be a good fight tomorrow – and I’m going to try and take it.”