M-Sport has confirmed that Sebastien Ogier and Ott Tänak will drive the all-new Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC in the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship.
Having tested the new Fiesta in Wales last month, Ogier was sufficiently impressed by the team’s latest creation to sign for the team and hopefully his fifth world title. Joining Ogier and Julien Ingrassia in the second Fiesta are Tänak and new co-driver Martin Järveoja.
Commenting on the deal, Malcolm Wilson 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."
“I’ve made no secret of how much we wanted to work with Sebastien and Julien, and it is fantastic to welcome them to the team. We have worked extremely hard to secure them, and they believe that the Ford Fiesta WRC is the car with which they can best defend their championship."
“With Ott and Martin lining up alongside them, we are in for one hell of a season. Ott has had a very impressive year with consistent speed. He’s played a major role in the development of the new car, and I’m sure that the elusive first victory isn’t too far away!”
Sébastien Ogier added: “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 Malcolm one day. I had no idea at the time that it would come quite so soon, but here we are!"
“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. There’s not long before we line-up at the start of Rallye 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 and his team are for success."
Ott Tänak 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."
“The power is insane, and almost every aspect of the car has been completely redesigned. At first, I thought the increased power would make it a bit of a handful, but the guys have done such a good job. Every component works together to give incredible control – it really is the full package."