Although starting relatively low in the running order at the Cyprus Rally, Ford’s Francois Duval and Subaru’s Mikko Hirvonen could steal the show from team-mates Markko Martin and Petter Solberg.

Although starting relatively low in the running order at the Cyprus Rally, Ford’s Francois Duval and Subaru’s Mikko Hirvonen could steal the show from team-mates Markko Martin and Petter Solberg.



This weekend’s rough gravel event usually suits drivers who take a measured approach and combat unforeseen crises. But as reigning world champion Solberg showed last year in Cyprus, less experienced drivers can take the victory spoils if the right situation emerges.


Both Hirvonen and Duval will be starting relatively late for the first leg of this weekend's event, which could allow them to take an early advantage as their more experienced title rivals clear the loose gravel on the top surface of the stages.


Both drivers have admitted that they still have to hone their technique on the slow, twisty stages, though.


"I think it’s possible to finish in the top five," said Duval. "It’s not necessary to push hard on the first day, because many cars will find trouble, and a cautious approach could pay off. Our start position on the first day is not too bad. I think to start 10th or 13th would be perfect if the conditions are dry. We are fifth, but that is okay.”


Subaru team boss David Lapworth said he was expecting an “impressive performance” from Hirvonen, and the young Finn is confident that he can finish strongly despite his inexperience.


“I’m learning all the time,” he said. “I think my style suits faster events, but there are three rough, twisty rallies coming up and that’s an area that I need to improve on, so it will be good for me. The Subaru is strong on this type of surface, which is a positive.”