Mikko Hirvonen gave the M-Sport World Rally Team a boost on Rally de Portugal last weekend by taking a strong second place.
Hirvonen took the lead at the end of the opening day, finishing it 6.5 seconds up on Volkswagen's Sebastian Ogier. However, on Saturday, he slipped back and in the afternoon was unable to hold on, eventually finishing 43.2 seconds adrift. Despite that, however, it was a good result, and as well as being M-Sport's first podium of the season, it was Hirvonen's first top-three since Spain last year.
“I'm really happy with this result. We came here wanting a good, clean rally and that is what we have done. The car has been absolutely perfect – and really competitive – all weekend so a big thanks to the boys for the top job they've done,” Hirvonen said at the finish of the fourth round in the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship.
“We knew that we had the pace, it was just a case of bringing everything together and I think that we did that this weekend,” he added.
“We'll keep developing and learning now, so hopefully we can fight even harder in the coming rallies,” he continued.
“We've been another step closer this weekend, and it's really good for the whole team. I'm sure this result will boost everyone and that we can continue to challenge at the head of the field.”
M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson meanwhile was delighted to see Hirvonen do so well and prove the pace of the Fiesta RS WRC.
“I cannot tell you how satisfying it is to see Mikko fighting for wins again. We all knew that he had the speed and the determination to do it and to see it all coming together now is fantastic. He had the perfect strategy for the opening phases – taking an early lead – and then controlled it brilliantly to bring home a season-best second place,” Wilson remarked.