Hirvonen not focusing on title
Ford's Mikko Hirvonen says he is not thinking about the World Rally Championship as he goes into next week's sixth round of the series - the Finn is focused on returning to the speed he showed at the start of the season.
Hirvonen dropped to third in the WRC standings after the last event, Rally New Zealand, but says he has identified the reason for his dip in form.
He said: "New Zealand was disappointing for me and I need to rediscover my speed. I'm not even thinking about championship positions at the moment, I just want to go to Portugal and drive at the speed that I know I can.
"I've thought a lot about why I wasn't as quick as I had hoped in New Zealand and I believe I was simply pushing too hard. My mistakes came through attacking too much, so I plan to be a little less aggressive and try to let my driving flow normally."
Since winning the season-opening Rally Sweden, Hirvonen has not stood on the top step of the podium and was passed by team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala after his New Zealand win moved him into second place in the drivers' standings.
Championship leader Sebastien Loeb has won the last two WRC rounds in Portugal and arrives in Faro with a 36-point advantage at the top of the table.
Hirvonen, who finished second in Portugal last year, says a precise approach to next week's Algarve-based event will be necessary to beat the Frenchman and his Citroen.
"The Rally of Portugal is a medium-fast rally and quite technical with plenty of corners over crests, so it's important to be precise with both pace notes and driving lines," said Hirvonen.
"Conditions look as if they will be hot and dry and that will be tough for the tyres. The roads have a hard base and on the second pass, once the loose stones have been swept away, the grip will be good, but abrasive, so we'll have to manage our tyres well."http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/83765