As M-Sport embark on the twelfth and penultimate round of the FIA World Rally Championship, the stage is set for a historic Dayinsure Wales Rally GB – the Cumbrian squad in with a strong chance of securing the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers and Sebastien Ogier close to claiming the Drivers title once again.
With the crown within touching distance, M-Sport require just one of their three Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta WRCs to reach the flying finish of the final stage. Do that, and the Cumbrians achieve the unthinkable – a private team from the edge of the English Lake District beating some of the world’s largest automotive companies.
If that weren’t enough, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia also have their first mathematical chance of securing the drivers’ and co-drivers’ titles – giving Malcolm Wilson’s team the potential of a dream double celebration on home soil.
With a record-breaking 13 Ford Fiestas in the M-Sport service park, the team will have to be at the top of their game and have left no stone unturned in their pursuit of success – success which they hope to celebrate throughout the field.
MALCOLM WILSON TEAM PRINCIPAL
As a driver and a Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson has tasted his fair share of champagne at the British fixture, but this year’s vintage could be the sweetest yet.
“It’s hard to find the words to describe just what a momentous achievement we are on the verge of securing this week.”
“When we started developing the Ford Fiesta WRC, I knew we had the people to design a competitive, rally-winning car, and we always hoped to be in this sort of position. Now that it is a reality, it really is hard to find the words.
“But it’s not done yet and we cannot forget just what a challenging event Wales Rally GB can be. The changeable weather, unpredictable grip and long days make it one of the most demanding events of the year.
“All three of our drivers have proven what they are capable of in Wales, and I have no doubt that all three of them are capable of securing the best possible result. But anything can happen and we must remain at the top of our game to get the job done.”
Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia have an opportunity to rewrite not one but two history books at Wales Rally GB.
Having won the event on four previous occasions, a fifth victory would make the French pairing the most successful in the event’s 85-year history.
A win would also see the reigning world champions retain their crown for a fifth straight season. Second place and a Power Stage victory would also see Ogier and Ingrassia seal the deal – regardless of what their nearest rivals
“This event is steeped in motorsport history and I think it’s fair to say that Wales Rally GB is one of the most iconic events on the calendar. It’s one that everyone wants to win and we’ll certainly be hoping to be in the battle for victory.
“It’s one of the most challenging rallies of the year and there is a real art to judging the grip levels through the forests. It’s an event that takes a while to get to grips with – quite literally – but I have to say that I now feel at home on the Welsh stages.
“Clearly, this could be a very special event for the team and it also provides us with our first mathematical chance of securing the drivers’ championship. But we can’t think too much about that. We just need to focus on enjoying the rally and delivering the best performance we can.”
–M-Sport Press release.
-Photos by Daniel Darrall