Ford has confirmed that Mikko Hirvonen won't restart on the final day of Rally Argentina, thus bringing his long record of consecutive WRC points finishes to an end.
The Finn had finished in the top eight on 22 successive events but saw his run come to an abrupt end after he ran into engine problems during the afternoon loop on day two.
Hirvonen had climbed up one place to second during the morning stages, and set about eating into the lead held by Sebastien Loeb when he went quickest on the first stage of the afternoon.
However, the water temperature in the engine of his Focus suddenly rose in the closing stages of SS15 and despite making it to the end of the test, Hirvonen was forced to retire on the road section to SS16.
With the temperature of the engine having reached 'excessive' levels, the team has elected not to restart Hirvonen under SupeRally on the final day and he admitted he was disappointed with how his event had ended – especially as Loeb looks well set to extend his advantage in the championship standings.
"The temperature gauge rose from normal to 140ºC very quickly and the engine switched into safe mode," Hirvonen said. "I finished the stage slowly and thought the radiator was perhaps blocked, but when I stopped to take a look I couldn't find a blockage so I knew it was a bigger problem. I saw there was no water in the cooling system and spoke with my engineer on the telephone. It became clear that nothing could be done and the team told me to retire.
"I'm disappointed because I had gained time on the previous stage and I think the fight would have gone right down to the finish tomorrow. I had the chance to win but even second would still have given me a chance in the drivers' championship. That's looking very difficult now. Argentina hasn't been kind to me."