Hirvonen joins up with Loeb

2011-11-16 18:26

Satory - Finland's Mikko Hirvonen will join forces with rival Sebastien Loeb at Citroen next year, in place of departing Frenchman Sebastien Ogier, the French team announced on Wednesday.

Hirvonen finished runner-up to eight-time world champion Loeb in 2008, 2009 and 2011, while driving for Ford.

Citroen team director Olivier Quesnel said Hirvonen had signed a two-year contract, committing him to the team until the end of 2013.

The 31-year-old was born near Jyvaskyla, home of Rally Finland, and has spent most of his career at Ford, registering 14 victories and 51 podium finishes in 124 races.

Hirvonen's arrival at Citroen comes as no surprise, as Loeb had talked up the Finn's qualities as a potential team-mate after securing his eighth world championship in Builth Wells, Wales at the weekend.

"I'd be very happy to be at his side," said Hirvonen.

"It'd allow me to learn a lot."

Quesnel revealed on Wednesday that Ogier, 27, had been released despite the fact he was under contract until 2013.