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Construction of the new permanent asphalt test track facility adjacent to the M-Sport headquarters at Dovenby in Cumbria is proceeding apace.  

Malcolm Wilson explained:  

“Our development is going really well and the recent weather is really helping progress on the site.  The scale of the whole thing has really surprised me when you see all the land with no green, just brown, and how the whole track is taking shape.  I’m really excited and looking forward to getting it up and running.”
   
Meanwhile, the future of the 2017 World Rally Car regulations, and particularly the matter of who will be allowed to drive these cars, is a hot debate, but Wilson is unfazed.  

“There is no question.  There is no reason why we can’t run cars like this year for drivers like Lorenzo Bertelli and Henning Solberg.  

“We definitely intend to try to run as many drivers of that calibre as we can and get as many customers as we can in a 2017 car.  

“We have discussed this with the FIA and they have no intention to not let people drive them.  Obviously I think we and the FIA need to be happy.”  

In the Trier Service Park there was curiosity why there were relatively few Fiesta R5s on the entry list.  Was this the sign of an unwelcome shift?  

“No, it’s the same as last year.  This is the closest to a home event for Skoda.  It was the same situation last year here and we were currently delivering car 177 this week.  We are still averaging one car per week.  

“Yes, it is a little bit disappointing not to have so many here, but you can’t have a massive Ford presence on every rally ...   

“Every Fiesta R5 nowadays is a latest Evo model.  We don’t do any pre-Evo versions now.”
 
- Martin Holmes    

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