Citroën Communication

Hirvonen sure of fresh start in Sweden

Hirvonen sure of fresh start in Sweden
By AutoSport

02/02/2013 at 23:04Updated 02/02/2013 at 23:16

Mikko Hirvonen is confident he can get his 2013 World Rally title challenge underway properly by winning Rally Sweden next week.

Citroen's Finn was expected to lead the team's championship assault this year now that erstwhile number one Sebastien Loeb was in semi-retirement.

But a tough Monte Carlo Rally ended with Hirvonen only fourth, as Loeb and fellow Citroen driver Dani Sordo finished first and third.

Last year, in only his second outing in a Citroen DS3 WRC, Hirvonen finished second overall in Sweden.

Hirvonen says a year's extra experience at the team will be enough for his third Swedish win in four years.

"Since we finished Monte Carlo, I have been totally focused on this rally," said Hirvonen.

"Last year, I was missing that little something you need to grab the win. A year later, I feel ready to secure my first win in 2013.

"Obviously, we'll have to deal with the conditions, which can vary depending on how cold it gets and any snowfall. That can affect the wear of the tyres.

"The new Michelin tyres seem more hard- wearing on the frozen gravel, but we'll only really be able to tell in the race."

Hirvonen concluded his two-day pre-event test in Sweden on Friday.

Rally Sweden is one of Citroen's weakest rallies of the year; the French firm has only won once in Karlstad, when Loeb took the 2004 event in his Xsara WRC.