A Dream End To Rally GB Sees M-Sport And Ogier Crowned WRC Champions As Evans Takes Maiden Win
What a dream end to the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship season for M-Sport. Sebastien Ogier secured his fifth World Rally Championship title while M-Sport secured the manufacturers title.
It was dream come true for Elfyn Evans, driving the Ford Fiesta DMACK Tyres car. the Welshman not only took his maiden WRC rally win but he became the first Welshman to win on home soil. Speaking following the event, Evans, who became the first Brit to win at home since Richard Burns in the year 2000, commented by saying:
I’m feeling pretty good, and just about managed to keep the tears away at the podium. It’s been a really long and difficult weekend, so this one feels good and it was made all the more special when you combine it with everything the team has achieved today.
“Already after Shakedown, we knew if the conditions played into our hands then the speed was there to challenge for the victory. As the weekend went on, I felt that it was always in my reach, but this is an event you can never predict. A clean run with no punctures, spins or mistakes is very difficult. It’s all about finding the right balance and I think that’s what we managed to achieve this weekend.
“I’m definitely hungry for more wins now, so let’s wait and see what next year has in store. Now that I have felt this feeling, it’s one that I would like to repeat!
Sebastien Ogier finished the rally on the podium in third place in the Ford Fiest WRT 1 and in doing so won his fifth World Rally Championship and his first with M-Sport having joined the team last winter.
Ogier finished the rally 45.2s behind Evans and speaking following the event he commented by saying:
Emotion is something you cannot control. There is something beautiful about that and I have to say that this was the strongest feeling of emotion that I have ever experienced in my professional life. It’s hard to explain the feeling, but it is most definitely a good one.
“Twelve months ago, we decided to take what could have been considered a risk. We decided to team up with Malcolm and set ourselves a challenge. Today, we have succeeded in that challenge and know that we made the right choice.
“I felt immediately proud and very happy for the team. A drivers’ title is something that has never happened for them and it was so well deserved. What they are able to do is amazing. Really, a big thanks to all of them.
Ott Tanak had a strong send off in his last WRC event with M-Sport as he finished Wales Rally GB in sixth place just ahead of Citroen Racing’s Kris Meeke and speaking following the event he commented by saying:
Our weekend might not have played out as we had been hoping, but crossing the line and securing the manufacturers’ championship for the team was something very special. Malcolm, and everyone in the team, have done such an incredible job this year and we’ve achieved huge success together. They really do deserve everything this weekend.
M-Sport Team Principal Malcolm Wilson OBE reflected on the team’s home event which delivered a win, and two championships for the blue oval by saying:
It’s been a very emotional day and I have to say that there were a few tears during the last stage – firstly when Ott crossed the line to take the manufacturers’ championship, then when Sébastien took the drivers’, and then again when Elfyn crossed the line to the win on our home event. It really was the Triple Crown, and a very emotional day for all of us.
“We have a great team of people and their hard work has resulted in something truly amazing. We’ve been on the podium at every event and we’re the only team to have had all three drivers secure a win this year. The Fiesta has proven itself to have the performance and the strength, and that is down to the tireless hours that every single member of the team has put into this incredible achievement.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to say a special thank you to Sébastien and Julien. When they joined the team at the start of the year, it really was the lift that everyone needed. They’ve had a really important influence on all of us, and all of us are extremely proud of what we have achieved together with them, Ott, Martin, Elfyn and Dan.