Hirvonen’s final day dilemma in GB
Finn admits to concerns over final day fight with Meeke
Retiring M-Sport driver Mikko Hirvonen admitted he was undecided whether to risk all in the pursuit of second place in his final event at Wales Rally GB.
He began Sunday’s final leg just 3.4sec ahead of Kris Meeke after a huge battle that entertained the crowds throughout the three days. But his desire to end his career with a podium left him unsure as to whether to attack to retain second, or throttle back to guarantee third.
The Finn chose the former and after Meeke went off the road in Sunday’s opening stage, an incident which caused tyre issues later in the morning, Hirvonen claimed an emotional runners-up spot in his Ford Fiesta RS.
“I didn’t know what to do,” he said. “I really wanted to fight for second place but I also wanted to finish on the podium as well.
“It was a bit tricky in the morning, especially in service when we said our goodbyes to all the guys in the team. I didn’t have the best rhythm and feeling for the first stages but finally it all went OK.
“It was a little emotional in service when we left, but it was a bit strange. I didn’t feel too emotional but I couldn’t concentrate and get my heard around what I was supposed to do,” he added.
Hirvonen relished the three-car fight with Meeke and Mads Østberg, which became a head-to-head with Meeke after the Norwegian dropped time.
“There couldn’t really have been a better end than to have a fight like that in my last rally. That’s the best thing about the sport, when you face all the difficult conditions and fight over seconds with other drivers. I’m so happy how my weekend went,” he said.
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