But as a refresher, here are five things you might or might not know about the 31-year-old Flying Finn who has just confirmed a two-event world championship campaign in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC next season.
1: He really is very good
In the last three seasons, Hanninen has won the SWRC, European championship and Intercontinental Rally Challenge titles. Since 2009, he’s claimed 18 outright wins in Super 2000 machinery and notched up numerous fastest stage times.
2: He’s Mr Versatile
Hanninen isn’t just good on gravel - the surface of choice for Finnish rally drivers - but he’s also been successful on Tarmac with wins aplenty in the ERC and IRC. Before his switch to S2000, Hanninen was a force in Group N and old-generation World Rally Cars, nothing up his first WRC points in Sardinia in 2007 driving a Mitsubishi Lancer WRC 05. He even tried a Citroen C2 Super 1600 for size on Wales Rally GB back in 2006.
3: He likes to park in unusual places
On Rallye Sanremo earlier this year, Hanninen was disputing first place when he crashed out, his Skoda Fabia Super 2000 coming to rest on the roof of an out building owned by a local living alongside the event route. Fortunately there were no injuries and the resident was compensated for the damage caused.
4: He loves his home round of the WRC
Hanninen has won his class on Neste Oil Rally Finland at his last four attempts, most notably in 2010 when he won the SWRC division in ninth overall. It’s worth noting, however, that he was disqualified from the event in 2006 when he was found not to be wearing the correct fireproof underwear.
5: He’s happy to wait for his dinner
When he’s not competing on rallies around the world, Hanninen works on the family farm and enjoys drinking milk and eating Karelian steak, a combination of beef, pork and mutton. Given the fact it takes four hours to cook, Hanninen is clearly happy to wait.