Mikko Hirvonen will go into the last two rounds of the season with a mountain to scale. Not only will he have the mammoth task of having to beat an unstoppable Sebastien Loeb at Japan & Great Britain, he will also have to pray for a minor miracle that will have to prevent Loeb from getting the 6 points he needs to take home a fifth-consecutive title.
Despite chances being extremely slim, Hirvonen is hopeful that he will be able to repeat his performance from 2007 when he won both rallies. Gravel is a personal favourite for Hirvonen and come 31st October, Japan will brace itself as he will mount his final assault at the World Championship.
“At least on gravel I have a good speed and can fight for the win,” said Hirvonen. “Hopefully I can do the same as last year and win Japan, but then again it’s not up to me that much; if he can take six points that’s enough. We need to go there to win and just see what he does.
“All he needs to do is drive it steadily to the finish in Japan and he’s going to be the champion, so we need to rely quite a lot on him having some bad luck. But you never know what’s going to happen. For sure it’s going to be difficult but as long as it’s mathematically possible we’ll keep trying,” he added.
However, the rally will be held at Sapporo, a different location to last year when Hirvonen was on the top step of the podium. “I don’t know much about the rally; I think the road is softer than last year but basically it will be a new event for all of us,” he said. “At this time of year we could face anything: if we’re really unlucky there could even be snow. Rain is very likely but either way I think we’re all in for some slippery and difficult conditions.”