M-Sport Ford WRT Confirmed Participation in 2019 WRC Season
The last doubt ahead of the 2019 World Rally Championship season has been solved: there will be again four teams in the competition. M-Sport Ford World Rally Team confirmed its participation in the next season of the premium rally championship, joining factory teams of Toyota, Hyundai and Citroen.
Malcolm Wilson’s team, which took two consecutive WRC Drivers’/Co-drivers’ titles with Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia in 2017 and 2018, and Manufacturers’ title in 2017, will continue to compete as a multi-car entry, announcing three cars for the first two rounds of the season – the Rallye Monte-Carlo and Rally Sweden.
Elfyn Evans and Teemu Suninen are confirmed as full-time drivers, both getting new co-drivers in their Ford Fiestas. In his fifth season with M-Sport, Elfyn Evans will share a car with Scott Martin, who is returning to the team in which he served as a co-driver to Matthew Wilson in 2004 and 2005. In the last five season, Martin worked with Craig Breen.
Teemu Suninen returns to the team for the third season and will share a car with fellow Finn Marko Salminen, who worked with Takamoto Katsuta in the last two seasons.
Pontus Tidemand will be the third driver at Rallye Monte-Carlo and Rally Sweden. The Swede, who won WRC2 title in 2017 and finished second in the same competition in 2018, previously worked with M-Sport back in 2013 when he was Junior WRC champion in a Ford Fiesta R2. Tidemand will also have a new co-driver in 2019, sharing a car with Emil Axelsson instead of Jonas Andersson.
Malcolm Wilson, an alfa and omega in the M-Sport, will spend more time in a future on the commercial side, installing Richard Millener to the role of Team Principal.
“It has been a bit of a rollercoaster over the last few weeks – from the elation of winning the FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers and Co-drivers with Sebastien and Julien to their emotional farewell – and we have been working night and day to put together the pieces that go into making a team for 2019.
“As I speak we still don’t have 100 percent of the details in place, but because of the huge amount of development work that has been going on behind the scenes; I felt that we had to make a commitment to see the hard work out on the stages. Working in collaboration with our partners in Europe and the US, every element has been reviewed and updated.
“The continued financial and technical collaboration with Ford has been pivotal in pushing us forward, and together we are working on a new and improved ‘ladder of opportunity,’ which began with the recently launched Ford Fiesta R2 earlier this month. We have always said that WRC is our shop window, and the development work we do at the highest level filters down to improve every step of the ladder.
“Next year is going to be a very important year for M-Sport. We have a number of new projects coming up including the launch of our Evaluation Centre at Dovenby Hall. We will continue to spread the net and work with existing partners – safeguarding the roles we have and taking advantage of any new opportunities that arise.
“We rely on the support of the whole WRC community to piece together the missing pieces, but we are confident we have the tools to do a good job and so we are making the decision to push forward and work through the challenges as they arrive!,” Malcolm Wilson said.