Two of the World’s leading rally drivers have signed-up to drive for the NGK-sponsored M-Sport WRC team in the forthcoming 2017 FIA World Rally Championship.
Sebastien Ogier and Ott Tänak will lead the team, each driving the all-new Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC which took centre-stage on the M-Sport stand on day one of the Autosport International Show at Birmingham’s NEC before heading off for the first rally of the season.
Fielding both the reigning FIA World Rally Champion and the WRC Driver of the Year, M-Sport is in prime position and determined to make a return to the top-step of the podium.
Having tested the new Fiesta in Wales, Ogier was sufficiently impressed by the team’s latest creation and agreed terms with the Cumbrian outfit to spearhead his championship defence which starts tomorrow (January 19) with the Rallye Monte-Carlo.
Since starting their WRC campaign in 2008, the French partnership of Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia have secured four world championships, 38 victories, 56 podiums and an impressive 475 stage wins.
Mark Hallam, Marketing Manager, NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said: “We are delighted that we are once again supporting M-Sport in this year’s 2017 WRC championship and are confident that with the latest car and the new incredible drivers the M-Sport team will have a very successful season.
“Many of our customers and motorists whose vehicles are fitted with our components are massive rally fans and I’m sure they will follow the M-Sport team in what should be a very exciting season.”
Sébastien 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.
“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.”
Lining up alongside Ogier and Ingrassia is Tänak and new co-driver Martin Järveoja. The Estonian was crowned this year’s WRC Driver of the Year and is keen to take another step forward.
He said “I’ve done a lot of testing with the new Ford Fiesta WRC, and it’s a massive step forward. This is the first time that I’ve had a hand in developing a new car completely from scratch and it’s been great to work with the engineers. I have a long history with M-Sport. They know how to build a competitive car and we’ve all worked together to produce something we hope will be quite special.”
M-Sport Managing Director Malcolm Wilson, OBE, said: “We go to Rallye Monte-Carlo with the number one on the door of the Ford Fiesta WRC and the strongest driver line-up we have had in years. To say we’re excited about next season is an understatement. We believe that we have produced an exceptional car, and we are in the best possible position ahead of this exciting new era.”
NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd is a leading supplier of original equipment (OE) spark plugs, glow plugs, NTK Lambda and other engine management sensors, plus ignition coils.
For more information on NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd and its products and services, please visit the website www.ngkntk.co.uk Also you can check out its new blogzine at ngktorque.com