|M-Sport's 2017 Ford Fiesta WRC car|
As expected, and with great hopes and cheering from the fan followers of the sport; former Ford WRC's official outfit M-Sport boss Malcom Wilson confirms that the recent 4-time world champion rally pair, Sebastien Ogier & Julien Ingrassia, to lead their conquest for the 2017 WRC season.
Ott Tänak alongside a new co-driver Martin Järveoja will be in the second Fiesta WRC car and is very excited to be inside the all new beast of a car.
Four-time world champion had tested the all new Ford Fiesta WRC in Wales last month, two days after trying Toyota’s Yaris World Rally Car in Spain. However, an agreement with M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson was not finalised until Monday.
“There will be a lot of new things this season, but I’m definitely looking forward to it,” said Ogier. “We have a new generation of World Rally Cars and a new team – it’s certainly an exciting time.
“There’s not long before we line-up at the start of Rallye Monte-Carlo and we’ve not had a lot of seat time with the Ford Fiesta WRC, but we’ll give it our best to be ready. We’re aware of the challenges, and I can see how hungry Malcolm and his team are for success.
“It’s funny to think that just a few months ago I was sitting at a motorsport forum at Wales Rally GB saying how nice it would be to work with him one day. I had no idea at the time that it would come quite so soon, but here we are.”
Malcom Wilson has no secrets of his desire to sign Ogier, ever since his exit from Citroen back in 2011.
“We go to Rallye Monte-Carlo with the number one on the door of the Ford Fiesta WRC and the strongest driver line-up we’ve had in years,” he said.
“To say we’re excited about next season is an understatement. We believe we have produced an exceptional car, and we’re in the best possible position ahead of this exciting new era.
“We have worked extremely hard to secure Sébastien and Julien and they believe the Ford Fiesta WRC is the car with which they can best defend their championship.”
Ott Tänak has played a major role in developing the new Fiesta and believes he is a better driver than the one that was dropped by M-Sport for a second time at the end of 2015.
“I had a great season in 2016,” he said. “We got a lot of experience under our belts and I think I became a much stronger driver. It was good to see the speed increase over the course of the year. This is the first time I’ve had a hand in developing a new car completely from scratch and it’s been great to work with the engineers.”
“The power is insane, and almost every aspect of the car has been completely redesigned. At first, I thought the increased power would make it a bit of a handful, but the guys have done such a good job. Every component works together to give incredible control – it really is the full package.
“It will be really interesting next year, and the whole team are very driven towards achieving the same goals. It’s great to have Seb and Julien in the team too. They have a lot of experience and I think we can all learn a lot from them. We had some great battles together this year, and I’m sure that will continue in 2017. There’s so much potential in this team. You can feel the excitement and we can’t wait to get started!”
We all had seen the camaraderie between Ogier & Tanak, but how far will they gel together as part of the same team, while fighting for victories is definitely worth the wait! Also, so far M-Sport has not released any statement about Eric Camilli, but he has a 2017 contract and news on his future is expected shortly.
The unexpected exit of Volkswagen Motorsport from the World Rally Championship had left it's entire driving squad without a drive. While Jari-Matti Latvala's seat has almost been confirmed by the Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC team, it is third driver Andreas Mikkelsen & his compatriot Mads Ostberg perhaps who are left-out without a seat for the upcoming season and we hope they find a rewarding seat soon!