Farewell to Hirvonen

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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 Finn’s celebrated career and the countless successes he and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen achieved alongside the team.

The pairing were instrumental in securing Ford’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: “Mikko [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 sport’s most successful partnerships and we shall not forget their talent, determination and commitment.

“They 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.

“I 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.”

Head of Ford Racing in Europe, Gerard Quinn, said “Over 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.

“We 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 – one of the toughest events on the WRC calendar.

“Always willing to share their experiences, Mikko and Jarmo were firm advocates of our junior programmes – 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.

“I wish them every success in their new ventures and thank them both for being professional ambassadors of the Ford brand.”

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