For the last year and a half the story has been Mikko Hirvonen battling and coming up short more times than not to 5 time champion Sebastian Loeb. Now Hirvonen has another problem, As Loeb drives away with the title, Danni Sordo now looks to surpass Mikko this year and give Citroen a 1/2 in both titles.
Last year’s Italian Rally saw Sordo disappoint with a 5th place overall. Sordo believes this year that a strong showing in Italy will set the pace for the rest of the year. This may be a perfectly calculated strike for Citroen as the war between them and Ford has been somewhat lackluster this year. Mikko Hirvonen had his first retirement of the year in Rally Argentina and his teammate Jari Mati-Latvala has performed like an amateur which was further demonstrated with his drive off of a cliff earlier in the year at Portugal. Sordo has improved as a driver this year and is showing very consistent results thus far.
However, I do not think the Spaniard has enough to overhaul Mikko for the runner up spot. Ford has just been granted a super weapon that could change the tide of battle for the remaining rallies in Markko Martin. Martin has returned to the team for testing and that is enough in my opinion to give Hirvonen the upper hand against Sordo. Retirements while familiar to the Ford team, do not usually come in the direction of Hirvonen so Sordo is really going to have elevated his driving capabilities if he is to make the leap in the title a permanent one.