The devastating fire which destroyed Mikko Hirvonen’s Ford Fiesta RS World Rally Car at Rally Italia Sardegna will cost his M-Sport team more than £400,000, team boss Malcolm Wilson revealed.
The Finn’s car caught fire on the road section between stages three and four on Friday afternoon and within minutes it was a blackened shell. Flames spread to the surrounding forest and the event was delayed for 80 minutes as fire crews fought the blaze.
“The financial implications to replace it are huge. You’re looking in excess of £400,000 and we don’t insure the rally cars, so that’s a big hit,” Wilson told wrc.com.
“If you have a big crash then nearly all the mechanical components are usually OK. But with what happened here, there is absolutely nothing we can reuse. Everything is destroyed and it’s a big loss.”
Wilson said that while the most important point was that neither Hirvonen nor co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen were hurt, the cause of the fire could remain a mystery.
“If it had happened on a stage then you could say something has taken an impact. But to clear the stage with a good time and for this to happen while cruising down the road section, it’s quite difficult for everyone to understand.
“Mikko thinks it started from within the right rear wheel. We’ll take the car back to the UK but it will be difficult to identify anything, unless something like the propshaft has broken and gone through the fuel tank. Then it will be pretty obvious, even though the car is destroyed,” he said.