14 Feb 2011

Hirvonen wins Rally of Sweden, Ford take podium clean sweep

9:56 am on 14 February 2011

Finland's Mikko Hirvonen powered his Ford Fiesta to victory in the Rally of Sweden, the opening event in the World Rally Championship.

Norwegian Mads Ostberg and Finland's Jari-Matti Latvala finished in second and third respectively to secure a podium sweep for Ford.

The 30-year-old Hirvonen was repeating his 2010 win in the only rally on the calendar staged entirely on snow.

This was the 13th WRC win for the driver who has twice finished runner-up to Sebastien Loeb in the title race, in 2008 and 2009.

Seven time world champion Loeb had a weekend to forget, coming in sixth after trouble with his starter motor on his Citroen DS3.

His team-mate Sebastien Ogier came in fourth.

Former WRC champion Petter Solberg suffered an embarrassing end to his time in Sweden when he had his driving licence confiscated by the police for speeding.

As a result his privately entered Citroen had to be driven by his co-driver Chris Patterson on the final stage.