Rally Italia Sardegna: Wilson targets Fiesta speed boost

M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson plans to make the Ford Fiesta RS WRC even faster ahead of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship season firing into life on Rallye Monte-Carlo in January.

Following Ford’s announcement that it will not be sponsoring an official team in the series next season, Wilson has vowed to press ahead with a number of tweaks to the car, which will have the Blue Oval’s blessing.

“My intention is that we will continue to push to secure stage wins and overall results on the forthcoming events for Ford and to push forward with the development work that was started in March this year to improve and refine the Fiesta WRC even further, ready for the 2013 season,” said Wilson, who doubles as the director of the Ford World Rally Team.

“We will also continue to work closely with our colleagues at Ford Racing towards the launch of the Fiesta R5 for March 2013 and the improvements that we are working on for the R2 car which will continue to the form the basis of a series of national and regional young driver programmes in the future.

“Confirmation of our key championship programmes for 2013 is our first priority and a challenge that the team here is very much looking forward to. After that we can review all options and determine the right direction for the future.”

Wilson continued: “I would like to thank Ford of Europe for their enthusiastic support and the faith shown in the team over the past 16 seasons. We understand that tough decisions have had to be made to safeguard Ford jobs, we accept the commercial reality of the situation and look forward to continuing our strong technical partnership into the future.

“M-Sport is extremely proud of our history with Ford since 1997; 208 podium finishes, scoring points on 156 consecutive events and 52 wins from 225 starts in the WRC along with two world titles underlines the dedication and commitment of the whole team in Cumbria.”

Roelant de Waard, vice president, marketing, sales and service, Ford of Europe, said: “Ford has a long and proud history in the WRC and this was not an easy decision. At this time, however we determined that it was better for the company and the Ford brand to reduce our commitment to the WRC and deploy our resources in other areas.

“We have great respect for M-Sport and Malcolm Wilson, who have run the Ford WRC team since 1997, and there is no organisation with more expertise and commitment to winning. Working together, we have reached a point where the Ford Fiesta has become the car of choice in rallying, and we want to see this continue in the future.”