The M-Sport Ford World Rally Championship team announced their plans for the 2019 season on Friday.
Following the departure of World Champion, Sebastien Ogier, the team have retained Welshman Elfyn Evans who will drive one of the teams Ford Fiesta WRC EccoBoost cars while Scott Martin returns to the team who gave him his WRC debut in 2004 becoming Elfyn’s co-driver.
Teemu Suninen returns to the team for a third season and will drive a top spec Ford Fiesta WRC EccoBoost WRC for the entire season.
For the opening round in Monte Carlo next month, the pair will be joined by Pontus Tidemand who will also be in the car for the second round in Sweden. There is also a change at the top of the outfit as Richard Millener takes over as Team Principal from Malcolm Wilson who will concentrate on the commercial side of the business.
Speaking about the news, Malcolm Wilson OBE, Managing Director of M-Sport commented by saying:
It has been a bit of a rollercoaster over the last few weeks – from the elation of winning the FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers and Co-drivers with Sébastien and Julien to their emotional farewell – and we have been working night and day to put together the pieces that go into making a team for 2019.
“As I speak we still don’t have 100 percent of the details in place, but because of the huge amount of development work that has been going on behind the scenes; I felt that we had to make a commitment to see the hard work out on the stages. Working in collaboration with our partners in Europe and the US, every element has been reviewed and updated.
“The continued financial and technical collaboration with Ford has been pivotal in pushing us forward, and together we are working on a new and improved ‘ladder of opportunity,’ which began with the recently launched Ford Fiesta R2 earlier this month. We have always said that WRC is our shop window, and the development work we do at the highest level filters down to improve every step of the ladder.
“Next year is going to be a very important year for M-Sport. We have a number of new projects coming up including the launch of our Evaluation Centre at Dovenby Hall. We will continue to spread the net and work with existing partners – safeguarding the roles we have and taking advantage of any new opportunities that arise.
“We rely on the support of the whole WRC community to piece together the missing pieces, but we are confident we have the tools to do a good job and so we are making the decision to push forward and work through the challenges as they arrive!
The team will unveil their new livery at the Autosport International Show on Super Saturday, January 12th. For ticket information visit – https://www.autosportinternational.com/