Hirvonen happy with the opening stages of the 2018 Dakar Rally

Credit: MINI

Mikko Hirvonen is happy with the start of 2018 Dakar Rally, despite making a small navigational error on the second stage of the endurance rally, resulting in lost time.

The former FIA World Rally Championship star is competing in his third running of Dakar, having made his début with the Mini team in 2016, where he finished an impressive fourth place, picking up a stage win along the way.

For 2018 the team have brought in a new car in the form of the Mini John Cooper Works Buggy and after the second day of action, the Finn is sitting in seventh position, just behind Team Peugeot Total driver Carlos Sainz Sr..

“It was a difficult start to the race but I am happy with the way it went.” said Hirvonen. “I didn’t take any crazy risks because it is a new car and different kind of dunes.

“The car was going really well. There was one waypoint we missed and it took three or four minutes to get back up a steep hill to it. Other than that it wasn’t too bad.”