New Zealand stages better than Finland! Is Hirvonen right?

The flying Finn made a big statement when contesting last weekend's Otago Rally

Rally Finland, Jyvaskyla 30/7 – 02/8 2009

Mikko Hirvonen put a cat among the pigeons last weekend on the Otago Rally.

Fresh from completing the gorgeous Kuri Bush test, Hirvonen immediately advised David Evans that the roads in New Zealand are the best in the world.

Even better than Finland? The home of fast, flowing roads with insane jumps?

Apparently so, according to the Finn.

Those are strong words from a driver who won Rally Finland in 2009 and finished on the podium on four other occasions.

And yet, I suspect my colleague Evans might not disagree too much either.

Having driven through Kuri Bush on recce, Evans immediately wanted to drive through again. And Hirvonen agreed, stating that the flow, the camber and lack of ruts allow you to really enjoy the car’s performance.

New Zealand has always had some cracking roads and stages, nobody is doubting that, but Finland is the country of speed when it comes to rallying. It’s the round everyone ogles on the calendar, wishing the stages of Jyväskylä would be here just that bit sooner.

All of that got us thinking on the DirtFish newsdesk. Is Hirvonen right?

Debate unsettled, I hurriedly took to the Girardo & Co. archive and located this magnificent shot of Hirvonen on the Finnish stages on his way to winning the rally in 2009.

The picture says it all. Car flying through the air on some beautifully undulating roads. It oozes everything that Finland is about.

Who has the better roads: Finland or New Zealand? We can’t decide, so why don’t you let us know in the comments below.