Rally – Mikko Hirvonen Announces Retirement

Mikko Hirvonen is one of the fastest drivers and one of the most beloved personalities the World Rally Championship has ever seen. He broke the mold of how most westerners saw Finns, as Mikko was unafraid to show his raw emotions and talk in detail about his successes and failures to the media. He also has one heck of a sense of humor that was well displayed in his travel videos he did with co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen in their first season with Citroen.  By far Mikko’s  greatest successes came from the Ford M-Sport team where he spent most of his career.  He was the man that battled Loeb again and again coming out as runner-up to the WRC Championship 4 times.  In his 13 years in the WRC he had 162 starts, 15 wins, and earned an impressive 1,192 points.  With the poise and grace of a true champion, Mikko released this video saying goodbye to the championship series he called home for so long.

[youtube_sc url=”http://youtu.be/VPv6AbjaAec”]

I must admit that I’ve been a huge fan of Mikko and I’m heartbroken that he is leaving before being able to claim the world title that has so many times slipped through is fingers in the past.  You can’t really blame a preson for wanting to spend more time with their family, especially with the constant travel demands required in a world championship.  Thank you Mikko for all the great years.

Official link to Mikko’s web site about his retirement:  http://www.mikkohirvonen.com/mikkothfb/ 

 

Do you think Mikko left the WRC too soon?  Or was this inevitable with the young talent moving up through the current WRC ranks?  Let us know in the comments.

2 comments

  • Thirteen years is a decent amount of time to invest in yourself, over and above the other side of your life.
    There comes a point if your goals are not being fulfilled and you have a family waiting for you then its time to go.
    He can be proud of what he has achieved and could be a super mentor for other drivers.
    Well done to him and hope his future is a bright and happy one !

    • Dan – Thanks for the comment. I completely agree that he put in a decent amount of time. I think we are going to see more “early” retirements like this as the starting age for top level motorsports becomes younger and younger. I personally think Mikko had another 2-3 good years left, and he proved as much this last weekend. If you look at the 2014 championship standings, Mikko and Jarmo were the “best of the rest.” They were the top non-VW driver/co-driver in points. Reality is that he didn’t have a seat for next year, which would mean a Petter Solberg-esque hunt for sponsors and money, or take a year off at a minimum. I’m sure that didn’t sound very enticing.

      In all honesty even though he has the consistency that can compete for championships, he does not have the pace he used to. He showed moments of speed, but not on a regular basis. There is an old saying “It’s easier to make a fast driver more consistent than it is to make a consistent driver fast.” Besides, the new young crop of potential WRC talent is very deep indeed. So Kittos to Mikko for his years in the WRC, sad to see him go, but at least he went out with a bang!