M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Principal Richard Millener says that it was a dream weekend for the outfit as they took victory at Rally Sweden, the only true winter rally of the season.
Ott Tanak took victory in his second event of the season having returned to the team at the start of the season.
Speaking following the action, Millener commented saying:
This weekend has been another one of those dream weekends. To come here and not be too sure of where we would be placed, and to come away from this event with the win is something that is really special for us all. The pace this weekend from all the crews has been so close, so to take the overall victory just makes this extra special.
“We all knew that Ott and Martin were capable of this speed and results, so to see it come to fruition on only the second event of the season is even more exciting. I cannot wait for the next event in Mexico already.
“I want to extend a special thank you to all our WRC team sponsors, particularly Ford and Red Bull, for their support throughout the Rally1 programme and in the lead-up to the 2023 season.
“I want to, as always, thank everyone in the team who have played their part, and kept working to the highest levels possible to make sure we were going to be competitive. Seeing them celebrate on the podium this afternoon is a real money cannot buy experience.”
TTanaktook the overall lead of the event after Hyundai Motorsport’s Craig Breen ran into trouble on Saturday and ended the event 18.7s ahead of Breen.
It’s quite impressive, not so bad at all. When we came into the rally, we didn’t really know what to expect. In the build up to the rally we understood that we were never going to be the fastest, but we’re happy to have kept our average pace pretty high and alongside the other guys.
“As a team, we made sure we didn’t have any bad stages and didn’t lose any time anywhere; that was the key. Sweden is unique, we only rally here once a year. It’s the same for Mexico, and opening the road there can’t be a big advantage! It’s a great start to the championship, probably more than we expected. For sure we can improve a lot, and the plan is to pick up the pace.”
Pierre-Louis Loubet ended the event in Sixth Overall, and speaking following the action he commented saying:
“I first want to say a huge congratulations to Ott, Martin and the rest of the team. This weekend has been a huge achievement for M-Sport and I am very glad to be a part of it.
“I think I have a lot of positives to take from this weekend; Friday was a good day and we spent a lot of time on the pace of the guys at the front. We also achieved a second-fastest time, and considering I don’t have a lot of experience on snow-and-ice, I think we can be very happy with this. Sometimes we lacked the confidence to really push the car, and this is where we lost some time, but overall I am happy. It was a challenge but we have learnt a lot,and now we look forward to a different challenge in Mexico.”