M-Sport World Rally Team’s Mikko Hirvonen and Elfyn Evans have completed Rally Finland in fifth and seventh places respectively. The two M-Sport drivers were amongst eight Ford Fiesta rally cars in the first 15 finishers – giving M-Sport’s range of award-winning machinery an impressive 53 per cent of the overall top-15.
It was a somewhat frustrating weekend for home hero Hirvonen. As one of the most specialised events in the FIA World Rally Championship, Finland demands perfection. The forests are quick to punish a lack of confidence and the Finn admitted that a hesitant run through the event’s preliminary stages cost him dearly.
Hope of a resurgent comeback was subsequently halted through the second pass of Jukojärvi (SS20) when a stray rock damaged the suspension components of his Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
Embarking on the event’s final three stages, the M-Sport man was keen to put on a show for the home crowd. Thoroughly enjoying the final day’s legendary speed-tests, the Finn continued to entertain the crowds; building on yesterday’s longest jump through Päijälä – 41 metres at 148 kilometres per hour – with more air time and sideways action.
Mikko (5th) said:
“It’s been a bit up and down and I’m a bit disappointed as we were aiming to be able to fight for the podium. It wasn’t so bad at the start of the rally and on Friday I was really happy with the way we were driving and where we were fighting. But then we made a small mistake and when that happens and you start to hesitate like how I did on Saturday, you just lose so much time. You really can’t afford to do that around here.”