M-Sport Ford World Rally Team are ready to tackle the frozen stages of Rally Sweden – fielding three EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRCs on the second round of the FIA World Rally Championship.
Ready to take the fight to their rivals, Sébastien Ogier, Elfyn Evans and Teemu Suninen have completed a comprehensive test session and are poised to turn Värmland’s winter wonderland into a winter thunderland next week.
LAND OF ICE AND SNOW
Months of wintry weather and freezing temperatures have paved the way for a classic Rally Sweden – high snow banks and a thick layer of ice setting the scene for another thrilling encounter.
As one of the fastest events on the calendar, the Ford Fiesta WRCs will reach mind-blowing speeds as Michelin’s studded X-Ice North 3 tyres bite through the snow to capture grip on the hard ice below.
Leaning on hard-packed snow banks, the drivers guide their cars through corners but lean too hard and they risk becoming victims of the unforgiving terrain – ensnared in the snow with nothing but a shovel and the strength of the spectators to set them free.
As the crews adapt their driving to combat the unique nature of the event, the Swedish fixture has always been one for the brave. The action kick starts with plenty of power slides at the popular Karlstad Super Special before a flurry of popular speed tests in the forests of Sweden, and Norway.
Some classic stages not used since 2013 are returning to the itinerary, but the signature stage remains Vargåsen and the legendary Colin’s Crest where Eyvind Brynildsen jumped his EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta R5 a massive 45 metres in 2016.
M-Sport Ford have enjoyed much success at Rally Sweden, but Team Principal Malcolm Wilson knows that the competition will be stronger than ever this year. Having secured six victories on the snow-covered stages, the Swedish fixture remains the team’s most successful event on the current FIA World Rally Championship calendar and the team will be hoping to give the Scandinavians a run for their money next week.
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“Early reports suggest that we’re in for a classic Rally Sweden with plenty of snow and plenty of action out on the stages. We completed a comprehensive test with all three crews earlier this week and they all came away with a good feeling, so let’s see what we can do.
“We’re expecting the competition to be extremely strong and we know that the Scandinavian drivers will be on top form, but we also have three very strong candidates. Sébastien has won the event three times and Elfyn is also a previous Rally Sweden winner having out-performed the locals as part of the WRC 2 category in 2016.
“Then there’s Teemu. This is his first snow rally with the Fiesta WRC, and only his third overall, so we can’t expect too much from him. But the Finns have always been quick here and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw him secure another strong result.
“The scene is set for another epic battle and we’re certainly hoping to be in the mix for at least a podium. If we can secure another strong haul of points for our championship defence, we’ll leave Sweden very happy indeed.”