Mikko Hirvonen says he is looking forward to getting back to home soil on the Rally Finland as he prepares to give the new-look M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC its first competitive outing.

Considered a measure of Ford's valued technical support to the customer M-Sport outfit, though the car remains unchanged under the skin, it has now received a facelift to bring it into line with its road-going counterpart.

Indeed, Hirvonen is hoping the car will spur him on to a great result on his local event, where he was a winner with Ford back in 2009.

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"I am really looking forward to Rally Finland - every year it is the highlight of the season for me. We'll also have the new facelift on the competition cars for the first time next week which is very exciting. The car looks great and I'm sure the fans will agree when they see it flying through the forests.

"It's fair to say that Finland used to be quite a specialised event but nowadays it provides more of a level playing field. There are so many on-board videos around that the Finns don't necessarily have the advantage they used to. But we Finns are very proud of this event - of its history and its heritage - and we all want to see a Finnish driver on the top step of the podium again.

"I would love to be that Finn, but we know that this will be a close-fought rally with a lot of very tough competition. I'd like to go for the win, but if I come away with a podium I would still be very happy with the result.

"If we have a perfect rally then there's no reason why we shouldn't be pushing for the victory, but you have to be on the pace from the very first corner. The key is confidence. The stages are so fast and technical with lots of hidden corners over crests and you need to be fully committed throughout the entire weekend."