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M-Sport confident Ogier has tools to defend WRC crown

M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson OBE has set his team the target of the WRC teams' and drivers' crowns in 2017 after securing Sebastien Ogier's signature
M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson OBE has set his team the target of the World Rally Championship teams' and drivers' crowns in 2017 after securing four-time champion Sebastien Ogier's signature.

The British team heads into next season with an all-new driver line-up as Ott Tanak returns to the fold after an impressive season with DMACK Ford, claiming two runner-up finishes in Rally Poland and Wales Rally GB respectively on his way to eighth in the championship.

After Volkswagen Motorsport's shock withdrawal from WRC at the end of 2016, some rallying's best drivers were hunting a new team which saw Wilson win the race to lock down reigning champion Ogier for 2017.

With Ogier, Tanak and the all-new Ford Fiesta RS WRC machine for the 2017 regulations revamp, Wilson believes it is M-Sport's most potent combination in recent years and is relishing the challenge of fighting for world titles.

“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 have had in years,” Wilson said. “To say we're excited about next season is an understatement. We believe that we have produced an exceptional car, and we are in the best possible position ahead of this exciting new era.

“I've made no secret of how much we wanted to work with Sebastien and Julien [Ingrassia, Ogier's co-driver], and it is fantastic to welcome them to the team. We have worked extremely hard to secure them, and they believe that the Ford Fiesta WRC is the car with which they can best defend their championship.

“With Ott and Martin lining up alongside them, we are in for one hell of a season. Ott has had a very impressive year with consistent speed. He's played a major role in the development of the new car, and I'm sure that the elusive first victory isn't too far away.”

Ogier's ex-Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala has opted to join the all-Finnish line-up at Toyota Gazoo Racing, which returns to WRC in 2017, while Andreas Mikkelsen is set to confirmed his racing plans for next season.

by Haydn Cobb



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