Twelve years after he made his WRC debut on the Rally GB, Mikko Hirvonen heads back to Wales this weekend to bid farewell to the World Rally Championship after announcing his retirement from the sport.

A four-time WRC runner-up, Hirvonen will hang up his helmet after the Wales Rally GB, the event where he made his debut driving a Subaru Impreza in 2002.

Though his success on the event has been limited to just a single win in 2008 at the wheel of a Ford Focus, Hirvonen feels it is a fitting venue to be signing off as he prepares for a life of leisure.

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"This is going to be a very special event for me, my last in the FIA World Rally Championship," the M-Sport Ford Fiesta driver said. "It was actually my first WRC event in a world rally car and I can't wait to get out there and experience it all for the final time. The stages are really nice - fast and flowing - and I'm sure that I'm going to enjoy every single corner.

"I've always enjoyed this event. It's a tough one, but I think that's one of the reasons why I like it so much. The conditions are really challenging and the grip is changing all the time. There can be mud, fog, even snow and that makes it one of the biggest tests of the year for the drivers.

"It felt really good to be on the podium in Spain, and to do it again at my last event would be amazing. I think we're going to have an emotional day on Sunday, and it would be great to say our final farewell from the podium."