Monday | 02 Nov 2015

Hirvonen revives Escort memories

Who recalls the late 1970s and early 1980s when a seemingly never-ending string of Scandinavian rally drivers reeled off win after win in the ubiquitous Mk 2 Ford Escort RS1800?

The rear-wheel drive car claimed its first victory in 1975 when Timo Mäkinen triumphed at Britain’s RAC Rally. It won a further 16 WRC rounds between then and 1981, with Björn Waldegård and Ari Vatanen lifting the drivers’ world title in 1979 and 1981 respectively.

The Escort days preceded the career of Mikko Hirvonen, who powered four-wheel drive machinery to 15 WRC wins. But he always had a soft spot for Escort rally cars and now owns a Mk 2 RS1800 in period livery.

So the former works Ford and Citroën pilot jumped behind the wheel of his Escort for Tuulilasi magazine to explain the secrets behind driving a rear-wheel drive car. Sit back, scroll down to view the video below and enjoy more than five minutes of the Finn in full flow.

• Hirvonen, who retired from full-time WRC competition at the end of 2014, will drive an ex-Prodrive Mini John Cooper WRC at the Rally Isla de Lanzarote on 27 - 28 November. He will be partnered by Jarmo Lehtinen in the Auto-Laca Competición prepared car.

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