2 Aug 2009

Hirvonen tightens grip of Rally Finland

4:17 pm on 2 August 2009

Mikko Hirvonen has tightened his grip on the Rally of Finland opening up a 32 second lead on the gravel roads near his home town of Jyvaskyla.

The Ford Focus driver, who leads the world championship by one point, is on course to take his first ever Rally of Finland victory on the final day after winning six of the day's nine stages.

Hirvonen extend his overnight advantage over five-time champion Sebastien Loeb in second in a Citroen.

The 29-year-old Frenchman's hopes suffered a major setback when his car suffered a damaged wheel when it hit a pothole.

Former world Formula One champion Kimi Raikkonen rolled his privately-entered Abarth Grande Punto S2000 on the day's last stage.

Despite being out of the race, the Ferrari star was unhurt.