M-Sport capped off their most successful season in the World Rally Championship on Sunday, the final day of the Kennard’s Hire Rally Australia. While their competitors were struggling, M-Sport who had already claimed both titles capitalized with Ott Tanak, in his final event with the team before moving to Toyota Gazoo Racing giving the team a podium finish as he ended the event in second place.
Speaking following the rally, Tanak commented by saying:
It was important to finish the season like this, and to finish our time with the M-Sport family in such a positive way. On Friday we were struggling a bit with the pace and losing the rear diffuser didn’t help with the balance. But after this we managed to find a good average speed and had the pace to achieve a podium.
“To be honest, I didn’t think too much about this being our last rally with Malcolm and the team until the last road section when Martin started to play some sad songs! It’s been a long journey together and it’s never easy to leave a family. It feels quite hard actually, but the whole championship is also a family so this isn’t goodbye, it’s just see you later.
Sebastien Ogier had a strong finish to his season as he ended Rally Australia in fourth place overall, giving him something to build on heading into the winter and for the 2018 season.
Ogier won the championship in his first season with M-Sport and speaking following Rally Australia, he commented by saying:
It’s not been the smoothest of rallies for us, but at least we finished on a small positive with victory in the Power Stage. To be honest, it was more or less the only stage of the rally where everything was working for us.
“We had a lot to contend with this weekend – with the technical issues and also with our starting position through the opening stages. We just tried to stay focused and in the end that strategy paid off as fourth place was pretty unexpected.
“But regardless of this weekend, it really has been a fantastic season. A big thanks to Malcolm and the whole team. What we have achieved together this year really is incredible.
Elfyn Evans had a strong finish to his season finishing the rally in fifth place in the D-Mack Focus. The Welshman who is expected to move up to the Ford Focus EccoBoost alongside Ogier in 2018 commented by saying:
We knew that we would struggle this weekend, but with the rain today we had an opportunity to use the soft tyre. It was a more enjoyable day for sure and it was nice to secure a stage win. It was unfortunate that we encountered a few little niggles after that, but all in all not a bad way to finish off the weekend.
“The season as a whole has been amazing for the team. We’ve worked with some great people this year who really deserve this success – a big thanks to all of them.
M-Sport Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE commented on the end of the season by saying:
This has been an absolutely incredible season for the team and we have truly sealed it in style this weekend. We knew this was likely to be our most challenging event of the year, so to have all three cars in the top-five at the end of the rally is fantastic.
“It really does mirror our performance throughout the season with all three of our crews also securing top-five positons in the championship. It’s something that we are extremely proud of and I think it goes to prove how consistently strong the whole team has been this year.
“We have produced a car that can reliably perform on any surface, and every single member of the team has put their all into everything they have done. This success wouldn’t have been possible were it not for them and I really am so proud of the passionate and dedicated workforce that we have here at M-Sport.
“To have Ott and Martin complete our full set of podiums was great and the perfect end to what has been a very special relationship. It isn’t easy to say goodbye, but I will say thank you for all that they have done this year. They’ve been such an integral part of our success, and we all wish them the best in their new adventures next season.