|Date of Birth:
||M-Sport World Rally Team
Here’s what makes him special:
• One of the most experienced and reliable drivers in the class of 2014, he was instrumental in securing Ford’s manufacturers’ titles in 2006 and 2007
• A popular figure in the service park, his old Ford team like him so much they’ve employed him again
• In the era of Sebastien Loeb domination, Hirvonen got closer than anybody else
• On his day he can be hugely quick, but if things go badly he can struggle to stay motivated
The story so far
Hirvonen’s skills were first spotted when he stormed to the Finnish Formula 2 title in 2002. He was thrust into the WRC spotlight a year later in a factory-run Ford Focus.
His promising early career hit the buffers in 2004 when he was dropped from the Subaru team after a disappointing run of results. But Hirvonen bounced back in a privateer Ford Focus in 2005 and some blistering performances won him a seat at the factory Ford team in 2006 as Marcus Grönholm’s team-mate.
He proved a reliable performer and helped the Blue Oval to scoop back-to-back manufacturers’ titles in 2006 and 2007. The Finn was elevated to Ford’s number one in 2008 and went on to claim a brace of second place finishes in the drivers’ championship in 2008 and 2009. He was denied rallying’s ultimate prize by one point in 2009.
But the 2010 and 2011 seasons proved a big disappointment for Hirvonen and Ford. And it was therefore little surprise when he signed a two-year deal with Citroën in 2012.
His fortunes were mixed with the French squad – he only scored one win in two seasons – and he will return to Ford to try and re-establish himself as a rally-winning driver on a consistent basis in 2014.
||Second in World Rally Championship with one win
||Contests first full WRC in works-assisted Focus
||Signs for Subaru as replacement to the retiring Tommi Makinen
||Leads Acropolis Rally of Greece in a privateer Ford Focus. Scores first podium on RACC Rally de Espana
||Takes maiden WRC win. Third in World Rally Championship
||Third in World Rally Championship with three wins
||Second in World Rally Championship with three wins
||Second in World Rally championship with four wins
||Sixth in World Rally Championship with one win
||Second in World Rally Championship with two wins
||Finnish Formula 2 Champion