Thursday | 06 Nov 2014

M-Sport boss Wilson leads Hirvonen tributes

M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson has paid tribute to long-time Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen, who announced today that he will retire from the WRC at the end of the year.

Hirvonen and his co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen drove for the British-based M-Sport squad for nine seasons between 2003 and 2014 and played a crucial role in securing Ford’s back-to-back World Rally Championship titles in 2006 and 2007.

Throughout their career, the duo accumulated 259 stage wins and won 14 rallies at the wheel of Ford Focus RS and Ford Fiesta RS cars built by M-Sport. They finished as runner-up in the drivers’ and co-drivers’ championships on three separate occasions.

Hirvonen won his home Rally Finland in 2009

“Mikko and Jarmo have given the team so much over the years and I look back on our time together with a lot of very happy memories,” said Wilson (above). “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,” he added.

Hirvonen today posted a YouTube video in which he reflects on his WRC career - mostly from the wheel of his 1960s Pontiac Grand Prix. It’s well worth a watch.

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Hirvonen in-car video