Mikko Hirvonen enjoyed his best season to date in the WRC in 2009 and came close to ending the run of success enjoyed by Sebastien Loeb. At the season end however, he fell just one point short of lifting the crown for the first time.

Hirvonen took podiums in the first four events of the year but was then forced out in Argentina by an engine problem - leaving him to play catch-up as Loeb won the first five events of the campaign.

Having taken second in Italy behind team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala, Hirvonen then brought himself back into contention with a run of four straight victories to lead the standings by a single point going into the season finale in Wales.

The Finn pushed hard in a head-to-head battle with Loeb in the Welsh forests but had to settle for second in both the event and the standings.

There is no doubt the Hirvonen is a champion elect and came close to securing top honours in your vote for the top WRC driver of the year.

Statistics:

Team: BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team Car: Ford Focus RS WRC

Championship position: 2nd Points: 92

Events: 12 Victories: 4 Podiums: 7 Points finishes: 11

Podiums tally excludes victories

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