M-Sport declared that Mikko Hirvonen will be retire from World Rally Championship end of 2014 season, which has left one in England. M-Sport look back on the Finnâ€™s celebrated career and the countless successes he and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen achieved alongside the team.
The pairing were instrumental in securing Fordâ€™s back-to-back World Rally Championship titles in 2006 and 2007 and delivered 14 victories behind the wheel of M-Sport machinery which they partipicated in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2014. Mikko and Jarmo gave almost a decade of dedication to the Blue Oval.
Mikko Hirvonen finished three seasons in runner-up position as a Sebastien Loeb’s rival. Hirvonen and Lehtinen achived 259 stage wins, 68 podiums and 1192 WRC points in their WRC carrier.
M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said: â€œMikko [Hirvonen] and Jarmo [Lehtinen] have given the team so much over the years and I look back on our time together with a lot of very happy memories. They formed one of the sportâ€™s most successful partnerships and we shall not forget their talent, determination and commitment.
â€œThey were instrumental in securing back-to-back World Rally Championships for Ford and each of their 14 victories with us holds a lot of very special memories. A lot of crews have passed through our doors, but few were held in as high a regard as Mikko and Jarmo who have always been immensely popular members of the team.
â€œI speak for everyone at M-Sport when I thank them for everything we achieved together and wish them every success and happiness for the future.â€
Head of Ford Racing in Europe, Gerard Quinn, said â€œOver the years it has been a real pleasure to work with Mikko [Hirvonen] in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). Both he and Jarmo [Lehtinen, co-driver] left a lasting impression on Ford racing history and became our most successful Ford pairing in the WRC with 14 victories to their name.
â€œWe worked together on the development of the [Ford] Fiesta RS WRC and my proudest moment was when they took the car to victory on its first outing at Rally Sweden in 2011 â€“ one of the toughest events on the WRC calendar.
â€œAlways willing to share their experiences, Mikko and Jarmo were firm advocates of our junior programmes â€“ assisting with the training of the next generation of drivers and co-drivers. Safety in the sport of rally is paramount and I also know how passionately both have supported the campaign for safety in rally as well as on the public roads.
â€œI wish them every success in their new ventures and thank them both for being professional ambassadors of the Ford brand.â€