Former Rally Finland winner Mikko Hirvonen desperately needed to get his season back on track on the 2011 event, but instead he lost two minutes on the opening three stages after a brush with a tree.
Q. Do you know what it was yet?
Mikko Hirvonen: No, not really. At least it wasn't anything with the engine, that was just the first feeling. There was something to do with the brake lines. But anyway, s*** happens and now I need to move on; we've got the weekend to do.
Q. The stage had started well for you, the split times were looking good.
MH: They were OK. The last split time we had, we were two seconds up on [Sebastien] Loeb.
Q. When you hit a tree, you know it's not going to be good, but did you know how much time you would lose?
MH: You know right away that it's not good. I lost the brakes and the steering was twisted, I knew it was bad. But then in the next stage I had even more problems with the wheel hub breaking and the caliper jamming the whole wheel.
For the last four or five kilometers of that second stage, the wheel was not moving. That broke the driveshaft and rear diff, so the car was only front-wheel drive. With only the front wheels driving and dragging one wheel, we couldn't go anywhere and we lost 40 seconds in the last five kilometers.
Q. How do you put your feelings into words?
MH: It's a shame. For the second year in a row, we are struggling in our home rally where for sure we could have been fighting. Sometimes it hits you really badly and you've just got to move on.
Q. You've just got to get in the car and drive...
MH: Exactly. It doesn't really matter now, we are so far behind the pressure doesn't matter. There's nothing to lose.
Q. And plenty to gain?
MH: We can definitely get back to the points. We need to step on it today.
Q. And there are still an awful lot of people out there waiting to see you...
MH: Yeah, that's good. Hopefully people will like what they see when I'm coming on the stages.