FIA World Rally Championship runner-up, Ford's Mikko Hirvonen, was honoured with one of motorsport's most prestigious awards in London on Sunday
The BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team driver was named International Rally Driver of the Year at the Autosport Awards in front of past and present world champions, including Formula 1 stars Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Damon Hill and former World Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx.
Hirvonen (29) and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen finished second in the 2009 world rally championship drivers' standings in a Ford Focus RS World Rally Car, missing the title by just one point. Hirvonen's campaign, which included a run of four consecutive rally victories, was rewarded by the readers of Britain's Autosport Magazine and Autosport.com website who named him the year's top rally driver.
After receiving his trophy, Hirvonen said: "I'm a little bit speechless because I didn't expect to hear my name read out. I'm honoured that the British fans and readers of Autosport voted for me and I can't thank them enough. I receive this award on behalf of myself and Jarmo. We are a team and he deserves this just as much as me. It's a proud moment for both of us. It was frustrating to finish second by just a single point, but it was a great season and missing out by so little makes me want the title even more next year."