M-Sport has become the latest team to reveal its entry for the 2017 World Rally Championship, which will run to eye-catching new generation regulations for the first time next year.
Following on from the unveiling of Hyundai's new i20 WRC, M-Sport has pulled the wraps off its 2017 WRC challenger built around the revised Ford Fiesta which got its world premiere in November.
The Fiesta RS WRC is built to new-for-2017 regulations, which will place more emphasis on making the cars more aggressive to look at in the spirit of the iconic 'Group B' cars of the 1980s. The cars will also produce 380hp and produce greater mechanical grip.
New from the ground up – with 95 per cent designed from scratch – M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson is confident M-Sport has produced a car capable of getting back to regular victory challenges.
“Entering a new era in the FIA World Rally Championship, there is a real sense of excitement throughout the team, and rightly so as I believe we have created something extremely special in the new Ford Fiesta WRC.
“Having driven the car myself, I can honestly say that it is one of the most impressive we have ever produced. It's exciting to drive, it sounds fantastic and it looks absolutely sensational.
“Every team is starting on an equal footing and I'm confident that we have produced another car which is capable of challenging – and winning – at the very highest level.
“More than 95 percent has been designed from scratch and our team has had whatever they've wanted to build the best possible car. No expense has been spared, and we start the 2017 season with one goal in mind – returning to the top step of the podium.”
M-Sport is still to confirm its full driver line-up for the 2017 season with the team keen to lure four-time Sebastien Ogier into the fold following Volkswagen's sudden exit from the sport. The Frenchman has tested the car but is understood to be considering the M-Sport alongside another that could see him drive the Polo in a privateer guise.
Despite VW's factory exit, Hyundai remains involved and Toyota returns to the series in 2017 for the first time since 1999, while Citroen makes a full-time comeback following a sabbatical in 2016 as it develops its new C3 entry.