Hirvonen's Fiesta takes IRC opener

Ford WRC star Mikko Hirvonen gave the M-Sport team’s Fiesta S2000 a convincing debut victory on the Monte Carlo Rally in January.

The Finn beat the Skoda Fabia S2000 of Juho Hänninen by nearly two minutes on the Intercontinental Rally Challenge season opener. It also marked a first IRC win for tyre supplier Pirelli.

Britons Guy Wilks and Kris Meeke had mixed fortunes. Reigning IRC champion Meeke ran second but retired his Peugeot 206 after crashing on a patch of black ice. Wilks drove solidly to finish sixth in his Skoda Fabia.