BRITON Elfyn Evans has retained his driver’s seat in the M-Sport Ford FIA World Rally Championship team and will be part of a three-car Ford Fiesta RS entry at the Rallye Monte-Carlo season-opener next month.
The 2017 Rally GB winner’s role was confirmed by the team just before the 2019 season-registration deadline yesterday. He will partner young Finn Teemu Suninen, whose second season at M-Sport will comprise a full calendar at elite level for the first time.
M-Sport said WRC2 champion Pontus Tidemand would drive a third Fiesta at Rallye Monte-Carlo and Rally Sweden (14-17 February). It will be the first experience in a WRC car for the Swede, who has ended his association with the Skoda factory WRC2 team.
M-Sport also announced its founder Malcolm Wilson has stepped down from the role of Principal to focus on the company’s wider business interests. Long-standing deputy Rich Milliner has been appointed Principal and will lead the team at all 14 events on the 2019 calendar.
The M-Sport signings complete the four manufacturer team driver line-ups for next year.
Three of 2018’s drivers, Hayden Paddon, Craig Breen and Mads Østberg, do not have drives at this stage. Citroën patron and part-time driver Khalid al Qassimi is not expected to be seen following Al Dhabi’s sponsorship withdrawal.
The confirmed 2019 WRC drivers are –
Toyota Gazoo Racing
Sébastien Loeb (6 events)
Dani Sordo (8 events)
Pontus Tidemand (2 events)
All drivers, co-drivers, team principals and cars will be present at the 2019 official season launch at the Autosport International show in Birmingham on 12 January.