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M-Sport confirm Suninen for eight rounds in Ford Fiesta WRC

January 12, 2018

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team are pleased to confirm that Teemu Suninen and Mikko Markkula will take to the wheel of the Cumbrian squad’s third EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC on eight rounds of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship.

With his Fiesta in essentially the same livery as team mates Sébastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans, Suninen will form a part of the manufacturer team at Rally Sweden, Rally Mexico, Rally de Portugal, Rally Italia Sardegna, Rally Finland, the Rally of Turkey, Wales Rally GB and Rally de España.

In addition, the Finn will also take to the wheel of the Ford Fiesta R5 as part of the FIA World Rally Championship’s premier support series – WRC 2 – at Rallye Monte-Carlo and Rallye Deutschland.

Following an impressive debut at the highest level of competition in 2017, Suninen is thoroughly deserving of further WRC outings and was the clear choice to assist M-Sport in the defence of their manufacturer title.

The Finn made his top-flight debut at last year’s Rally Poland. Securing an impressive sixth place finish on his competitive debut, he also had no hesitation in claiming his first stage victory – setting the fastest time through the Polish event’s seventh speed test.

Next time out at Rally Finland, he went even further – claiming a further three fastest stage times and challenging for a podium position on only his second outing with the Ford Fiesta WRC.

With eight events behind the wheel of the top-specification Fiesta in 2018, Suninen will have plenty of opportunity to prove his potential once more – and could well be knocking on the door of a maiden WRC podium.

Teemu Suninen said:

“This will be a nice season for us and I am very happy about my programme for 2018. The highlight will of course be the eight rallies with the Ford Fiesta WRC as part of the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team where I think we have a good opportunity to prove our potential.

“The plan is to start those rallies in a relaxed state of mind. There’s no now or never situation or anything like that and no need to focus on our position in the drivers’ championship. We’ll just take it rally by rally and make the most of every event we do.

“We need to ensure that we make the most of this opportunity, and that is exactly what we plan to do. I’m really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of a top-specification world rally car and aim to learn as much as I can.”

Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:

“There is no doubting Teemu’s potential and I am sure that he will prove himself a very valuable member of our team this year. More than a few heads were turned when he got behind the wheel of the Ford Fiesta WRC for the first time last year. To secure a stage win on your debut outing is one thing, but to be challenging for a podium on your second is quite another.

“There is no denying that Teemu is a very talented young driver, and a future rally winner. With eight rallies this year he’ll get the vital experience needed to develop his career at this level and I would not be at all be surprised if we saw him challenging for a podium or two.”

Source:
m-sport.co.uk

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WRC 2018 season launch

January 11, 2018

 

Greensmith confirms eight-round campaign with Fiesta R5

January 11, 2018

Gus Greensmith and co-driver Craig Parry have a busy 2018 ahead as they take to the wheel of the Ford Fiesta for nine FIA World Rally Championship events and a full campaign in the championship’s premier support series – WRC 2.

The 21-year-old Brit will first take to the stages later this month – making his Rallye Monte-Carlo debut behind the wheel of the Ford Fiesta R2.

Following advice from Team Principal Malcolm Wilson, he’ll use the outing to learn more about the challenging nature of the season’s traditional opener before being reunited with the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta R5 for a further eight rallies.

The Brit will start his WRC 2 campaign on the gravel tracks of Rally Mexico. Having completed the recce last year, he and Parry will be well prepared to tackle the unique character of the Central American event for the first time in competition.

Having shown impressive speed and progression throughout his maiden year in four-wheel-drive machinery, Greensmith’s potential is clear to see. If the young Brit can couple that with improved consistency, he will undoubtedly be one to watch in 2018.

Gus Greensmith said:

“It feels great to be back in the swing of things, but this time in the colour blue. It’s been a long time since Wales Rally GB and now I cannot wait to get back behind the wheel.

“The 2018 WRC 2 Championship looks as though it’s going to be the most competitive yet and I’ve been working hard over the winter break for exactly that reason. I feel as though I’m going to be in a good place this year – mentally, physically, with Craig back by my side and of course with M-Sport, the reigning World Champions!

“Last year I think I showed my ability to drive as fast, if not faster, than my competitors. Speed wasn’t the issue, but consistency was and that is the key to doing well in any championship. This year, I need to focus on consistently scoring strong points.

“But at the same time I also have to admit that a goal of mine for this year is to secure my first WRC 2 victory. If the opportunity arises, and the circumstances are right, I’ll go for it. It’s a childhood dream and the second of six life goals I am aiming to achieve.”

Craig Parry said:

“We’ve got a really good programme for 2018 and I can’t wait to get started – with nine rallies to plan and contest we’ll certainly be kept busy!

“This will be my second year with Gus and it really was fantastic to see how quickly he progressed last year – a lot faster than any of us expected. He’s progressed in every area of the sport and it was great to see him mature not only as a driver, but also as a person.

“The main aim for this year will be to try and find a bit more consistency. The speed is already there, so now we just need to cut out some of those small but costly mistakes. We can have a good push on our stronger events, and try to focus a bit more on championship position as opposed to each individual rally. But as always, the main goal is to enjoy every minute of it.”

M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:

“It’s great to have Gus back with the team in 2018. He has the speed and the potential to go very far indeed. He’s still very young at only 21 years old, but he is also very determined to succeed. This could well be a breakthrough season for Gus and I’ll certainly be watching his progress with interest throughout the year.”

Source:
m-sport.co.uk

Ford extends it’s commitment to WRC

January 11, 2018

Ford has extended it’s commitment to WRC with Ford Performance Support for the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team in 2018.

Today Ford Motor Company announced a new agreement to supply extended technical and financial support to long-term motorsport partner M-Sport – winner of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ titles in 2017 with the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC.

Starting in 2018, the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team led by Malcolm Wilson OBE – one of the most successful names in motorsport – and based at Dovenby Hall, Cockermouth, U.K., will benefit from additional technical support from the global Ford Performance organisation at Ford’s headquarters in Dearborn, U.S., led by Mark Rushbrook, global director of Motorsport.

The increased backing from Ford is a key driver in MSport’s retention of Sébastien Ogier – 2017 FIA WRC Drivers’ champion – for the 2018 season. Ogier and upcoming talent Elfyn Evans will lead the team, alongside their respective co-drivers Julien Ingrassia and Daniel Barritt, in the Ford Fiesta WRC.

Mark Rushbrook, global director of Motorsport

“Ford’s 20-year relationship with M-Sport has delivered unparalleled success at all levels of rallying, something we’re very proud of, and has also established Fiesta as the standard for rally competitors around the globe. Last year we supported M-Sport with the development of the all-new Fiesta that went on to campaign to an FIA championship win. For 2018, we’re excited to be able to provide even greater support.”

Ford has been a continuous partner with M-Sport since 1997. As the Ford-appointed specialist in rally-sport, M-Sport produces Ford vehicles for rally competition in several classes, from FIA R2 to the pinnacle in WRC. Almost 400 M-Sport developed Ford Fiestas are currently competing in rally-sport globally.

Malcolm Wilson OBE, M-Sport managing director.

“We’ve enjoyed a fantastic relationship with Ford over the years and it’s great to see that support increase as we look to defend our FIA World Rally Championship titles in 2018. In Sébastien and Elfyn we have another strong line up and the added technical support will allow us to progress the development of the Ford Fiesta WRC. The competition will be closer than ever but I’m confident that, together with the support of our partners, we can produce the same high levels of performance and reliability that delivered so much success in 2017.”

Powered by Ford’s 1.6-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, the Ford Fiesta WRC rally car is based on the all-new Fiesta, on sale across Europe in distinctive versions including the stylish Fiesta Titanium, the Ford Performance-inspired Fiesta ST-Line and the upscale Fiesta Vignale.

Source:
fordeurope.blogspot.com

HMDP ready for 2018 debut

January 9, 2018

The 2018 season for Hyundai Motorsport´s driver development program (HMDP) will get off to an exciting start at the Autosport International show in the UK this week.

Hyundai Motorsport´s HMDP crew, Jari Huttunen and co-driver Antti Linnaketo, will join selected rounds of the WRC2 championship this season. The Finnish crew, who were chosen after a competitive selection process last year, will participate first in Sweden before heading overseas to Mexico.

“I am honoured to be representing the HMDP in WRC2 this season,” said 23-year-old Jari. “It will be a learning curve and I intend to make the most of the opportunity.”

WRC2 promises to be a thrilling battle in 2018 with plenty of top name manufacturers and drivers vying for victory. “The competition is going to be tough,” adds Jari. “We have a great car and a lot of optimism, which we will try to translate into positive results.”

The popular Autosport International event will also mark the debut of a new livery for our NG i20 R5 car, which will feature the HMDP logo prominently on the front, side and rear.

Team Manager Alain Penasse commented: “HMDP perfectly showcases our commitment to identify and nurture new rallying talent. With Jari, we feel we have a real star in the making. Our NG i20 R5 with its new livery will look fantastic on the WRC2 stages.”

Jari and Antti’s first WRC2 event in Sweden takes place February 15-18.

Source:
motorsport.hyundai.com

Bouffier confirmed for Monte Carlo and Corsica

January 8, 2018

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team are pleased to confirm that Bryan Bouffier will take to the wheel of the third EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC for two rounds of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship – Rallye Monte-Carlo and the Tour de Corse.

The Frenchman has strong knowledge of both events, and his unrivalled experience will provide a significant asset on what are considered two of the championship’s most specialised rallies.

Having contested the Monegasque event for the past eight years, and the Corsican event for the past seven, Bouffier’s knowledge is unequalled. As a past winner of both rallies, the Frenchman has expertise when it comes to understanding the challenging conditions that have come to typify the two legendary events.

Whilst contesting the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in 2011, Bouffier secured something every driver wants to achieve – a Rallye Monte-Carlo victory.

Three years later as part of the FIA World Rally Championship, he came close to a second victory – mastering the elements to take an early lead with his Fiesta before having to settle for second place behind Ogier.

In 2013, he also mastered the Tour de Corse as part of the FIA European Rally Championship. Locked in an intense battle for the win, the tricky final day conditions saw Bouffier pull clear with a proficient approach to tyre strategy.

All of these elements will make the Frenchman a strong addition to the team when the Cumbrian squad start their title defence in just over two weeks’ time.

Bryan Bouffier said:

“My nights are a lot shorter now that I know I will be driving one of these amazing cars, and I have already done a lot of kilometres with the Ford Fiesta WRC in my dreams.

“I honestly didn’t think I would get an opportunity to drive this car – not even on test – so I am very excited. It’s always a great pleasure to work with Malcolm and the M-Sport team, and their amazing success in 2017 makes me very proud to work with them again.

“Monte and Corsica are two very different events, but they are also two of my favourites. They’re the two ‘French’ rounds of the season and it is always a pleasure to drive on home soil – even more so with this new car!

“My plan is to be relaxed and to have fun. I would also love to score some manufacturer points for the team – that would just be the icing on the cake!”

Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:

“It’s great to have Bryan on board for Rallye Monte-Carlo and the Tour de Corse. When it comes to these events, it’s fair to say that his experience is unrivalled. These are two of the most specialised rallies on the calendar and the conditions and tyre selections can so often determine who succeeds. With Bryan’s knowledge, we will have another string to our bow as we look to defend our championship titles.”

Source:
m-sport.co.uk

2018 FIA WRC

December 22, 2017

Manufacturer Entrants

CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT
(CITROËN C3 WRC)

HYUNDAI SHELL MOBIS WORLD RALLY TEAM
(HYUNDAI i20 COUPE WRC)

M-SPORT FORD WORLD RALLY TEAM
(FORD FIESTA WRC)

TOYOTA GAZOO RACING WRT
(TOYOTA YARIS WRC)

Source:
www.fia.com