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Hirvonen achieves first podium finish for Citroen

Hirvonen achieves first podium finish for Citroen

The Citroen Total World Rally Team continued its impressive start to the World Rally Championship season with another podium finish at the WRC Rally Sweden.

However, this time it was the turn of new driver Mikko Hirvonen, as he steered his Citroen Ds3 to second place.

Sebastian Loeb, Hirvonen's team-mate, was forced to make do with sixth place in Sweden, having won the opening stage in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

The result means that the Citroen Total World Rally Team is in the exact position it envisioned when creating this season's team - in first and second in the driver's standings and sitting atop the manufacturer's league.

Loeb, despite his lacklustre display in Sweden, remains at the top of the pile with a total of 39 points following his 11-point haul in Sweden.

However, Hirvonen, who only joined in the off-season and is still getting to grips with the Ds3, picked up 18 points in the second stage of the season and thus closed the gap to just seven points in second place.

Petter Solberg, who finished in fourth place in Sweden in the Ford WRC Fiesta, completes the top three of the driver's chart with 29 points.

After just two races, Citroen team principal Yves Matton is delighted with the standings and claims his bold move to bring in Hirvonen to replace Sebastien Ogier is already paying off.

"Loeb and Hirvonen top the Drivers Championship and Citroen is also top of the Manufacturers' standings: these are the key points we'll take away from Rally Sweden," he said.

"We think the DS3 WRC more than matched its competitors in terms of out-and-out performance, but the rally just didn't quite go our way! I am also pleased that our five cars made it to the end of the rally without any mechanical problems at all."

Posted by Craig SalterADNFCR-3205-ID-801292707-ADNFCR