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News that Ford have drawn closer to supporting the privately run M-Sport World Rally Team, who won the FIA World Rally Championship Manufacturer title running Fords, was widely welcomed, not least by their World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier. Present at the WRC Presentation at the NEC in Birmingham was Gerard Quinn, Head of Ford Performance Europe, who outlined how things now stand. He spoke to Martin Holmes ..... Regarding any change in operation:
“Nothing in terms of the relationship between Ford and M-Sport has changed. We’ve been partners since 1997 (when Ford withdrew from direct activity in the WRC).
“What has changed is that we’ve given a stronger commitment to further the development of the new Fiesta in 2018, which is something we would have done in any case because that’s been the way our relationship has worked over the last two decades.” Ford returns to the WRC The name of the WRC entrant includes the word Ford, but the word Ford comes after M-Sport. What does that tell us about the relationship between the two?
“I don’t think anything can be read into that. The important thing is that the Ford name is there now and is associated strongly with M-Sport. Not everybody can have our trademark,” Quinn said.
Seb Ogier testing for 2018 season What specifically has changed this year? “We now have a stronger global commitment by providing the type of technology advancements that are needed to evolve the car that was so successful in 2017.
“Having the resource to develop and evolve the car in 2018 is hugely significant in terms of what it can mean to the programme overall. This covers technical things and money.”
Was it enough to persuade Sebastien Ogier to stay with M-Sport into 2018. “Seb is a very driven individual and I think that is very important in the team, but the key thing for him was the commitment to continue to support M-Sport, and to step up on the support both financially and technically.”
Elfyn Evans Rally Australia 2017

DMack will not be a part of the M-Sport WRC team in 2018. Photo: Peter Whitten

Ford’s Dearborn (U.S.A) based global director of Motorsport, Mark Rushbrook, was also at the NEC.
“Ford’s 20-year relationship with M-Sport has delivered unparalleled success at all levels of rallying, something we’re very proud of,” Rushbrook said, “and has also established Fiesta as the standard for rally competitors around the globe.
“For 2018, we’re excited to be able to provide even greater support.”

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