Memories of the biggest day in M-Sport’s history 12 months ago provide huge motivation for World Champion Sebastien Ogier at this week’s Wales Rally GB.

Champagne corks popped everywhere at the rally’s podium ceremony as Ogier and Julien Ingrassia clinched the team’s first drivers’ and co-drivers’ world titles.

The squad also secured the manufacturers’ world crown with its Ford Fiesta WRC, while Elfyn Evans sparked further celebrations by netting his maiden WRC victory on home roads.

Fast forward a year and Ogier is involved in a fierce three-way battle for the drivers’ title with Thierry Neuville and Ott Tänak as he chases a sixth consecutive championship before departing for Citroën next season.

Sebastien Ogier chats with Luis Moya.

Long days in the demanding Welsh forests and unpredictable grip on the gravel roads ensure this 11th round of the season is a test of focus and endurance as well as pure pace, but Ogier must attack in a bid to close the 23-point gap to leader Neuville. “This time 12 months ago, the Welsh forests played host to an incredible story as we claimed all three championships with Malcolm (team principal Wilson) and his team,” said the Frenchman.

“The title fight could not be closer this year, but the team can rest assured we’ll give our very best in pursuit of the strongest possible result to keep our championship hopes alive.”

M-Sport Ford is the outsider in a three-team fight for the manufacturers’ crown but Wilson is counting on Ogier and Evans to rekindle those 2017 memories.

“Nothing will ever top last year when we secured all three titles as well as the rally win, but we’re aiming to be in the fight for another victory this year,” he said. “Both Sébastien and Elfyn know what it takes to stand on the top step of the podium in Wales. Sébastien has won this event four times, and Elfyn not only grew up on these roads but also made history when he won the event last year – the first Welsh driver to ever do so.”

  • Source: WRC
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