WRC debut:Italy 1998
WRC points at end of 2007:120
First WRC win:Australia 2006
2007: Three outright victories. Third again in the WCD.
2006: Third in drivers’ points with an official Ford. First WRC career win in Australia and eight podiums
2005: Led Acropolis Rally overall in a private Ford.
2004: A single season with Subaru, replacing Tommi Makinen as number two driver.
2003: Contests first full WRC season with Ford as official number three driver
2002: Wins Finnish F2 title
The young Finn Mikko Hirvonen had been relegated out of the top-tier teams after solid seasons with Ford and Subaru in 2003 and 2004 but deservedly got another shot at the big-time in 2006 with a move back to the works Ford team. Hirvonen only started rallying in 1998, but quickly showed his talent at the wheel of two-wheel drive cars, winning the Finnish Formula 2 title in 2002. In 2002 he also contended the Subaru Cup Challenge in Italy, leading the series before going off the road in the final stage of the final round and losing the championship.
He nonetheless earned a works deal with Ford for 2003 as a result of his other efforts. Although he rolled on his debut in Monte Carlo, he had a solid, if unspectacular, rest of the season, which prompted a move to Subaru for 2004. Once again, Hirvonen performed solidly, but had to return to privateer rallying in 2005. Although relegated to a 2003-spec car, Mikko impressed and led the Acropolis Rally overall. That got him back into a works car again without delay! His third place in Spain guaranteed him the team’s second seat in 2006.
Claiming podium positions on eight of the season’s rallies, Hirvonen proved to be by far the most productive number two driver in the 2006 championship and this brought BP-Ford the titles in 2006 and again in 2007. The confidence shown by a three-year deal also speaks volumes, as Hirvonen looks set to emerge as a true future star for the next few seasons. He has already made himself known as a podium contender on every event, and in 2008, we may see Hirvonen battling with Sebastien Loeb and Petter Solberg for rally victories on every event as well.