Motorsport: Former rally star Mikko Hirvonen to join exclusive club to drive famous Mk2 Escort at Otago

First raced back in the 1970s, the Mk2 Escort is today still regarded as one of the greatest rally cars ever made - and New Zealand is home to arguably the world's most famous.

This weekend, former World Rally Championship star Mikko Hirvonen will compete at the Otago Rally in a BDA-powered escort synonymous with world champions.

"One of the most beautiful stages as well, so why not come back when finally the opportunity came," Hirvonen told Newshub.

A world runner-up on four occasions, Hirvonen has piloted some of the fastest cars in the world, but this one is right up there.

"You just want to slide it and throw it around sideways, and hear the engine screaming," he said.

This particular BDA Escort has had the best in the business do just that in the past 30 years.

"Well, according to the international media, they think it's the most famous Mk2 Escort in the world, only because of the number of world champions its had drive it," said owner Brent Rawstron.

The list includes Ari Vattinen, Juha Kankinen, Hannu Mikkola and Didier Auriol, and just like them, Hirvonen knows how to go really fast on gravel.

"You know you need big balls to go flat out, so let's see if I can dig deep enough and find them," Hirvonen said.

It's easy to see why WRC stars keep coming back to drive this BDA, with Hirvonen just the latest in a growing list of the world's best to throttle this famous car.

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