WRC: Mikko Hirvonen and co-driver escape inferno in Italy

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We haven’t paid a ton of attention to the year’s FIA World Rally Championship this season – Sebastien Ogier has three wins and Jari-Matta Latvala two thus far heading into this weekend’s Rally Italia in Sardegnia.

But this was something to note.

M-Sport Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen, who’s had some appalling luck this year, had more bad luck strike him this weekend in Italy.

First, take a quick look at the picture to the right to see what the car used to look like earlier this year.

Now, below, you’ll see what it looks like now after a massive inferno engulfed his Ford Fiesta between stages 3 and 4 on the Rally Italia. The Finn and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen escaped injury though.

Here’s a quick recap via Twitter:

Hirvonen wrote this on Twitter later:

As yet, no cause has been given to why the fire occurred. “We changed the tires and checked the pressures as normal between stages and everything was okay,” Hirvonen said, via the official WRC website. “But then the car caught fire for no reason.When I was fighting the fire, the rear bumper was fine and sometimes that can break and catch on the exhaust which causes a fire. It’s strange.”

Given that blaze, we’re thankful all are OK.

Toyota victorious in Bahrain on Porsche’s LMP1 swansong

Toyota Motorsport GmbH
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SAKHIR, Bahrain – Toyota denied Porsche a swansong victory in its final LMP1 appearance in the FIA World Endurance Championship by taking a commanding win in the 6 Hours of Bahrain on Saturday.

Porsche started from pole in the last competitive outing for the three-time Le Mans-winning 919 Hybrid car, only to lose out to Toyota’s Sebastien Buemi within the first half an hour of the race.

Porsche lost one of its cars from contention for victory after an errant bollard got stuck underneath Timo Bernhard’s No. 2 entry, leaving Nick Tandy to lead its charge in the No. 1 car.

Tandy moved into the lead just past half distance after a bold strategy call from Porsche to triple-stint the Briton after a fuel-only stop, vaulting him ahead of Anthony Davidson in the No. 8 Toyota.

Tandy’s win hopes were soon dashed when he tangled with a GTE-Am backmarker at Turn 1, sustaining damage that forced Porsche into an unplanned pit stop that put the car a lap down.

With the No. 7 Toyota losing two laps following a clash with a GTE-Pro car earlier on, Davidson, Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima went unchallenged en route to the car’s fifth victory of the season.

Porsche rounded out the podium with its cars, with the No. 2 leading home the No. 1, leaving Toyota’s No. 7 car to settle for P4 at the checkered flag.

Vaillante Rebellion clinched the title in LMP2 after a stunning fightback led by Bruno Senna, with the Brazilian securing his maiden motorsport championship win in the process.

GTE-Pro saw AF Corse complete a hat-trick of titles in 2017, with James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi wining the class’ first world championship recognized by the FIA, while Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda sewed up the GTE-Am title.