M-Sport World Rally Team’s Mikko Hirvonen and Elfyn Evans picked up the pace as Rallye de France – Alsace ventured south for seven stages in the South Vosges. The pairing currently hold sixth and eighth positions respectively going into tomorrow’s final day.
Hirvonen and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen started the day ready for an intense battle for fourth place. The Finns struggled to find the optimum set-up to compliment Michelin’s new compound tyres on the faster stages, but having made some changes in service, the pairing reignited their charge over the afternoon loop.
Having the better of his closest rivals by some margin, Hirvonen was at one behind the wheel of his Ford Fiesta RS WRC through the second pass of ‘Vallée de Munster’ (SS11). Combining a stiffer set-up with a smoother, more precise driving style, the M-Sport man reaped the rewards and is just over 10 seconds shy of the coveted fourth place going into tomorrow’s final day.
Mikko (6th) said:
“It’s been good today – especially in the afternoon when we had a much better pace and a lot more confidence with the tyres. When you’ve been through the stages once, you have a better understanding of how the new compound will work. We had some added confidence from that and I think it showed.
“We’re still in a position to fight for the fourth place so I am very happy with that and I will certainly try my best tomorrow.”