How Hirvonen is finding his long-awaited Otago debut

He has attempted many times to contest the famous rally, and is loving the chance now it has finally arrived

He tried, tried and tried again to make it to the Otago Rally. He failed every time as Dakar commitments and then the global pandemic intervened. Not this time.

Wild horses couldn’t keep Mikko Hirvonen out of the Rossendale Ford Escort RS1800 at this week’s Dunedin-based event. Co-driven by his friend Jarno Ottman, the Finn has kept much of New Zealand’s South Island on its toes through Saturday.

He’s thrilled thousands of fans with a committed but careful (“I had no idea this car was so famous!”) approach to the stages and is promising more of the same through Sunday.

Here’s a look at Hirvonen’s Otago Rally so far: