M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson said he was overjoyed that his company's new Ford Fiesta S2000 car took a victory on its competition debut in the Monte Carlo Rally. Works Ford World Rally Championship driver Mikko Hirvonen led the Intercontinental Rally Challenge opener from the outset, eventually winning by nearly two minutes.
"It's a dream debut for our new Fiesta S2000," said Wilson. "We led from the first stage to the last and didn't experience a single problem, which is hugely encouraging for a new car. Mikko drove at exactly the pace he needed to win and his feedback will be crucial in our further development of the Fiesta.
"I would also like to thank the team at M-Sport, which has put so much effort and commitment into turning this car from a blank sheet of paper into a Monte Carlo Rally winner in just nine months."
Hirvonen was also extremely impressed with the car's performance. "This car is brand new to competition but everything worked perfectly from the first kilometer," he said. "That's a tribute to the whole team, and particularly the people who put in so much effort over the last two weeks."
The Fiesta S2000's second victory could come as soon as today, with Nasser Al-Attiyah and Khalid Al-Qassimi putting the new car in first and second positions on day one of the Qatar International Rally, the FIA Middle East series opener, yesterday.
Alongside demonstrating the S2000 car's potential, the other purpose of Hirvonen's Monte entry was to give him some additional asphalt practice prior to the WRC season, and he was delighted to start his year so strongly.
"To start the season with a win is a big confidence boost," he said. "I enjoy the winning feeling and I want to carry on like this when the WRC starts next month in Sweden."