It wasn’t just on home soil where Cumbrians were enjoying their rallying last weekend.

Further afield in Mexico the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team secured their first FIA World Rally Championship podium of the year thanks to Finnish pairing Teemu Suninen and Jarmo Lehtinen.

Hinting at his potential with the fastest time through the preliminary Shakedown stage, Suninen didn’t let his Cumbrian team down and continued to fight for the top positions throughout the rally.

Highlighting his pace and consistency alongside the performance of his EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC, the young Finn secured a deserved podium – the third of his career to date.

“It was brilliant to watch Teemu this weekend,” said Team Principal Richard Millener.

“He had a tough start to the season, but we all knew what he was capable of and this is the confidence-boosting result he needed.

“From the second he got in the car, you could see his intent and he maintained that speed and consistency all weekend.

“He has fully regrouped after a disappointing start, and it really was great to see him showing the pace and performance of the Fiesta this weekend.”

But it wasn’t all good news for the Cockermouth-based team as lead driver Esapekka Lappi saw his rally come to a dramatic end – his Fiesta engulfed in flames at the end of stage seven on Friday afternoon.

Despite the best efforts of the crew, there was nothing they could do to save the car – which burnt out on the road section after Lappi heroically drove it away from the stop line.

The reality of a lost car is a bitter blow for the privately-run M-Sport team, but thankfully, and most importantly, everyone came away from the incident safe and unharmed.

“It’s hard to tell exactly what happened,” said Millener, “but it looks as though some hot oil may have leaked onto the exhaust.

“Everyone tried their best to put out the flames, but once these cars go up it’s almost impossible to stop – so full credit to Esapekka and co-driver Janne Ferm for getting it to a safe place.

“It’s no secret that this loss will really have a big impact on M-Sport – and we don’t know when the championship will resume which makes the situation really difficult right now.

“But despite all of this and all of the repercussions, the most important thing is that everyone is safe and unharmed.”