M-Sport head into the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship season finale, Rally Australia having secured both the drivers and manufacturers championships.
Should the team secure a podium finish next weekend they will make history by becoming the first team to secure podiums in every event of the season for three years when it happened briefly in 2009 and 2012.
Looking ahead to the final event of the season, M-Sport team principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE commented by saying:
What we achieved on home soil last month was truly amazing. We did open a few bottles of champagne, but the good stuff will have to wait until after Rally Australia.
“The season is not over yet. We might have secured all three championships, but we want to end what has been an immensely successful year on another high and secure another podium to complete our clean sweep.
“We’ve had all three drivers secure at least one victory this year, and a podium on every event. The best way to end the season would be to complete the set with another top-three on the Coffs Coast. It won’t be easy, but that has to be our goal.
“The competition will be extremely strong, and everyone will want to end the year with a strong result. But we won’t let standards slip, and aim to deliver another strong result.
Having won the championship last time out in Wales, Sebastien Ogier is looking forward to the final event of the season.
Heading to the final round of the season with a fifth championship already secured is fantastic, and exactly what we were aiming for in Wales. It lifts some of the pressure and means that we can go to Rally Australia fully focused on enjoying the great stages that they have there.
“I say some of the pressure as we still want to secure a good result. So far, the team has had a podium on every event and we want to see that continue next week. If it’s dry, our road position won’t make it easy, but we will try our best as always.
“It’s quite an intimate event, but the locals really get behind the rally and we always receive a very warm welcome. If we could end the season with another strong result, it really would be the perfect ending to an incredible year.
Ott Tanak goes into his final WRC event with M-Sport before he moves to Toyota Gazoo Racing for the 2018 season in third place in championship and speaking ahead of the event in Australian he commented by saying:
It’s a nice feeling heading to Rally Australia as part of a championship winning team, but the hard work isn’t over yet. We’ve still got a chance of finishing second in the championship and we’ll be giving our all to end our time with the team on a high.
“It won’t be easy – Rally Australia never is – and it’s completely different to anything else we experience. Everything is different – even the shadows in the forest – and we’ll have to be at the very top of our game if we want to deliver a strong result.
“It all starts with the recce and we’ll have to be fully focused from the word go – driving with complete trust in the notes and keeping the foot to the floor to combat what would be some fairly heavy road sweeping if it stays dry.
Fresh from taking his maiden WRC victory on home soil last time out, Elfyn Evans is looking forward to building on his performance in Wales. Speaking ahead of Rally Australia, the Welshman commented by saying:
Securing the win on home soil gave us an amazing feeling, but there wasn’t too much time to celebrate with the next event just around the corner. After a little party, it was straight into our preparations for Australia.
“I’ve always enjoyed this event, but it’s not been particularly kind to us in the past. It’s not the easiest of events and visibility can often be a big challenge. We can get some hanging dust and when the sun is low it can create a strobe effect through the trees which makes it difficult to read the road. It’s certainly an event where you need complete confidence in your notes.
“We missed this rally last year and there are quite a lot of new stages to get to grips with. We’ll also have to wait and see how the conditions suit our package. At the moment the forecasts look a bit uncertain, so that could be interesting. But whatever happens, I always enjoy coming to Australia and we’ll be giving it our all as always.