Hirvonen up for Cyprus ERC fun in the sun
Mikko Hirvonen will contest the Cyprus Rally, the penultimate round of the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship, from 27-29 September.
A four-time runner-up in the world championship, Hirvonen will compete in a Ford Fiesta R5 run by Markko Märtin’s MM-Motorsport team. His fellow Finn Jarno Ottman will co-drive.
“I have fond memories of the Cyprus Rally from the world championship, having finished twice on the podium,” said the 39-year-old. “But the podium will be the last thing on my mind when I return later this month because this is about having fun on a challenging rally.
“I always enjoyed visiting Cyprus and there’s a bit of a ‘Dakar’ feel to some of the stages. Having contested the Dakar three times, I like this kind of challenge, which is more about driving with a bit strategy rather than going flat out.
“I’ve known Markko Märtin for a long time and Cyprus is a great place to go to this time of year. It’s a well-organised and demanding event.”
Hirvonen, who made five ERC appearances prior to his step up to world level, prepared for the Cyprus Rally with an outing on the all-gravel Lõuna-Eesti Ralli earlier this month.
“Although I’m not going to be paying too much attention to my stage times in Cyprus, I said to Markko I’d prefer to have some knowledge of the Fiesta and his team before Cyprus. Doing the event in Estonia was good practice and it was actually quite useful because we had a small technical problem that could easily have occurred in Cyprus had we not found it in Estonia.”