Mikko Hirvonen announces WRC retirement

Mikko Hirvonen has announced his retirement from the FIA World Rally Championship at the end of the 2014 season, bringing to an end a career which saw his become one of nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb’s fiercest competitors.

This morning he announced via his website: “I have so many incredible memories from the last thirteen seasons! I have had the chance to achieve my childhood dreams! I have travelled all around the world, met some fantastic people and have loved every rally and every fight that I have had with some exceptional drivers.

“I won some and I lost some but, for sure, I will look back on these moments to the end of my days with a great big smile on my face.”

Throughout his career he has taken 259 stage wins, 68 podiums and 1192 WRC points with a majority of those gained with M-Sport. Hirvonen and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen played an important part in securing Ford’s back-to-back WRC titles in 2006 and 2007.

“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 M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE.

“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.”

Head of Ford Racing in Europe, Gerard Quinn, added “Over the years it has been a real pleasure to work with Mikko in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). Both he and Jarmo left a lasting impression on Ford racing history and became our most successful Ford pairing in the WRC with 14 victories to their name.

“We worked together on the development of the [Ford] Fiesta RS WRC and my proudest moment was when they took the car to victory on its first outing at Rally Sweden in 2011 – one of the toughest events on the WRC calendar.”

Take a look back at his WRC career in a short video here.