Ford's Mikko Hirvonen says he has no fears about running first on the road during tomorrow's second day of Rally Sweden.
The Finn leads the event by 8.4sec heading into tonight's final dash around the Karlstad superspecial and will be forced to run first through tomorrow's eight tests. First into today's stages, Sebastien Loeb felt his effort through the afternoon was compromised, particularly in the repeated Likenas test.
"The Likenas stage the second time through today was not nice," said Hirvonen. "Some of the ruts were incredible. You look at the corner and you are wondering: 'Will I stop?' Sometimes we didn't have a clue. The car was just sliding along on the sump guard.
"But, I think it was quite the same for Sebastien as well, I'm not worried about being first on the road. One thing is sure, he is definitely going to be pushing hard tomorrow morning and we will have to make sure we are, too."
Hirvonen's team principal Malcolm Wilson added, "We have studied everything and we're confident Mikko won't have any problems running at the front tomorrow afternoon."
Loeb explained the problems he encountered in the first repeated stage: "There have been many cars coming through the road, taking a different line through the corners and going in other places. When we come back, the line we take can have a lot of gravel and rocks lying in there. It's hard. The ruts were very deep in places. The next two stages after this were better, not so bad."
Citroen team principal Olivier Quesnel added: "We think it was difficult to be first on the road this afternoon, but anyway he's still in the race and tomorrow Mikko has this job. This afternoon there was nothing for the pilot to do – it was just driving the train in the ruts. But, like I say, it's Mikko's turn tomorrow and we will see what happens."