Ford WRC

M-Sport ready to fly Ford flag in WRC

2014 M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC

M-Sport has revealed its new livery for the 2014 WRC season and while we do think the Fiesta RS WRC looks great in this predominantly dark blue colour scheme we’re pretty sure M-Sport would like a fair dinkum major sponsor.

In the end we’re being told what a great job Castrol and Michelin do while M-Sport grits its teeth and thanks Ford for the EcoBoost branding. Any chance of proper factory support?

Of course, M-Sport drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Elfyn Evans reckon everything’s hunky dory and can’t wait to get out on the icy tarmac of Rallye Monte Carlo.

We wish these guys well, they’ll be the underdogs all year.

Ford WRC

Robert Kubica secures full-time WRC drive for 2014

Robert Kubica

Robert Kubica said he wouldn’t return to rallying next year unless he could score a drive in a WRC car for all 13 races. And true to his word that’s exactly what he’ll be doing. The 29-year-old will be racing in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC prepared by M-Sport and carrying the branding of his long-time backer, the Polish oil company Lotos.

“I am really glad that I will participate in all 13 rounds of the World Rally Championship with the Fiesta RS WRC,” Robert said. “The support of my partner, Lotos Group, combined with the knowledge and experience of M-Sport will create a solid foundation for my further development and I am looking forward to gathering valuable experience on the WRC stages.”

It’s fair to say Kubica’s single WRC outing at Wales Rally GB with Citroën was a bit of a disaster, but winning five out of his seven races on the way to collecting the WRC2 championship proves he has the talent to forge a meaningful career in the sport.

“You only have to look at the way Robert prepared for the 2013 season to see what it all means to him,” said M-Sport owner Malcolm Wilson. “He has a desire and a hunger which you don’t see in many drivers and I truly believe that M-Sport can offer him all the right tools to move forward in rallying.”

We’d love nothing more than to see Kubica standing on the WRC podium next year. We also hope his participation in the WRC helps boost the profile and interest in what is one of motorsport’s most interesting and exciting categories.

Ford WRC

Hirvonen and Evans confirmed for M-Sport in 2014

Mikko Hirvonen

Ford’s presence in the WRC relies on the resilience of Malcolm Wilson and his M-Sport outfit; this is not a fully factory-backed team like we see with Volkswagen, Citroën and now Hyundai. And while we’re sure it’s not a case of M-Sport having to take what’s left on the driver market, the fact they are the last team to announce its 2014 driver line up kind of tells you how things sit in the WRC right now.

Having said that a driver pairing of rally veteran Mikko Hirvonen and WRC rookie Elfyn Evans shapes as being one of the most interesting to watch during the year. Evans spent 2013 chasing Robert Kubica’s tail in the WRC2 championship and the 24-year-old Welshman has bags of potential.

Meanwhile, 33-year-old Hirvonen, who made his WRC debut in 2002, is coming off two unfulfilled years at Citroën and will be desperate to prove his abilities once again. Let’s not forget the Fiesta RS WRC was the car Thierry Neuville drove to second place in the drivers’ championship this year.

“To be back in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, it really feels as though I am coming home,” Hirvonen said. “Joining M-Sport will give us a good chance to try again—a fresh start in a car we know we can be competitive in. We are motivated to win, and we are in the best possible place to do that.”

Evans is keen to make the step up to rally’s premier category. “It is an absolutely fantastic feeling to know that I will be driving a world rally car for a full season next year,” he said. “Last year was a real development year for us, so it is great to be able to take the next step in my career and for myself and Dan [Barritt, co-driver] to really progress within the team.”

M-Sport will be a real underdog team in 2014 and we wouldn’t mind seeing them upset a few apple carts along the way.