Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen insists it is business as usual as he begins the biggest test of his life, the 29-year-old commencing his pre-Rally GB test this morning.
Despite going into next week's Rally GB just one point ahead of Citroen's five-time champion Sebastien Loeb, Hirvonen insists he is not feeling any extra pressure ahead of the Cardiff-based event. The Finn will drive the test Ford Focus RS WRC 09 today and tomorrow in the north of England, before getting back behind the wheel for the Cambrian Rally on Saturday.
"The Cambrian will be good for me," he said. "It will be a chance to get back into driving on gravel in competition after being in Catalunya. That's all it is. That's the only thing which is different from any other pre-event test. Everything else is normal. I left home yesterday and I'm gone for two weeks. I won't be home until this battle is all done.
"To be honest, I haven't been thinking about it much. I'm sure I will think more now, but it's another rally for Jarmo [Lehtinen] and I and that's how we will treat it."
Hirvonen's teammate Jari-Matti Latvala has already driven the test car for two days before handing it over to the world championship leader.
Loeb and his Citroen teammate Dani Sordo have already completed their test, the C4s running in mid-Wales last week. Despite the organizers of the Cambrian stating that they have been told Citroen will not be attending the event, there are persistent rumors that Loeb will run on the Llandudno-based rally on Saturday.
Following the Cambrian, Hirvonen will head south to Cardiff for the Rally GB's two-day pre-event recce, which gets underway next Tuesday. Rally GB begins with a ceremonial start in Cardiff on next Thursday evening.