Mul­ti­ple cham­pion joins Bri­tish squad

Motor Sport News - - Front Page - By David Evans

Se­bastien Ogier will lead the M-sport World Rally Team next sea­son af­ter agree­ing terms with the Bri­tish squad ear­lier this week.

The French­man will be­gin test­ing the all-new Ford Fi­esta RS WRC in Swe­den this week be­fore he heads off on hol­i­day for two weeks. His Monte Carlo Rally prepa­ra­tions will com­mence in the New Year.

Ogier made his de­ci­sion fol­low­ing pro­tracted ne­go­ti­a­tions with M-sport manag­ing di­rec­tor Mal­colm Wil­son. He ad­vised Wil­son of his de­ci­sion to join him on Mon­day af­ter­noon.

Ogier said: “There will be a lot of new things this sea­son, but I am def­i­nitely look­ing for­ward to it. We have a new gen­er­a­tion of World Rally Cars, and a new team – it’s cer­tainly an ex­cit­ing time.

“There’s not long be­fore we line-up at the start of Rally Monte Carlo and we’ve not had a lot of seat time with the Ford Fi­esta WRC, but we’ll give it our best to be ready. We’re aware of the chal­lenges, and I can see how hun­gry Mal­colm Wil­son and his team are for success.

“It’s funny to think that just a few months ago I was sit­ting at a mo­tor­sport fo­rum at Wales Rally GB say­ing how nice it would be to work with him one day. I had no idea at the time that it would come quite so soon, but here we are!

“I’m look­ing for­ward to work­ing with M-sport, and we’ll cer­tainly be aiming to re­turn them to the top step of the podium!”

For Wil­son, sign­ing the four­time world cham­pion was the re­al­i­sa­tion of a month’s work. The Cum­brian is con­fi­dent the com­bi­na­tion of Ogier’s speed and his team’s new car will put the part­ner­ship at the fore­front of next year’s WRC.

Wil­son said: “This is fan­tas­tic news. I’ve made no effort to hide how much I wanted to sign Se­bastien and Julien [In­gras­sia, co-driver] and we’ve worked very hard to put this deal to­gether. Put it this way, I can fully un­der­stand why he’s a four-time world cham­pion: his at­ten­tion to de­tail is quite ex­cep­tional.

“The whole team is hugely ex­cited about the chance to work with these guys, it’s the op­por­tu­nity we’ve been wait­ing for and it comes at just the right time with the launch of our new car.”

M-sport re­vealed its 2017-spec­i­fi­ca­tion Ford Fi­esta RS WRC last week – and it was quickly granted the seal of ap­proval from Henry Ford III.

The great grand­son of Henry Ford vis­ited M-sport’s Dovenby head­quar­ters last week, where he

Wil­son and Ogier have agreed terms for 2017 The wraps came off the rad­i­cal M-sport Ford Fi­esta RS WRC at the end of last week

Fi­esta has Ford’s ap­proval

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