Hirvonen delighted in Italy

2012-10-22 07:23

OLBIA, Italy - Finland's Mikko Hirvonen expressed his delight on Sunday, October 21, 2012, after winning the Rally of Italy in Sardinia at last after finishing runner-up five times.

The Citroen driver took top spot ahead of two Ford Fiesta drivers with Russia's Evgeny Novikov second at 1min 20.6sec and Estonia's Ott Tanak third 2min21.1 off the pace.


Hirvonen, who secured his first victory this season and first as a Citroen driver but the 15th of his career, said: "I feel like I've just won my first rally! It feels really, really good.

"This was the goal we had before the rally and finally everything worked well. I've been five times second here and to finally win the rally I'm really pleased with that."

Novikov, 22, added: "I hope this second podium of the year (after Portugal) will help me to challenge next season."

The victory also guarantees 32-year-old Hirvonen second place in the overall Drivers' standings behind French team mate Sebastien Loeb for the fourth time ahead of the final r2012 ound in Spain in November.

Loeb, who claimed his ninth consecutive World drivers title on home ground in France a fortnight earlier, crashed out of the fally during Friday's third special stage.

Norway's Mads Ostberg finished fourth despite winning five stages after his Ford Fiesta had a puncture in the the closing Power Stage.

Ostberg moves into third place in the Drivers' standings.