EVANS’ CONFIRMATION AT M-SPORT COMPLETES 2019 DRIVER LINE-UP

//EVANS’ CONFIRMATION AT M-SPORT COMPLETES 2019 DRIVER LINE-UP

EVANS’ CONFIRMATION AT M-SPORT COMPLETES 2019 DRIVER LINE-UP

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

Ott Tänak
Jari-Matti Latvala
Kris Meeke

Hyundai Motorsport

Thierry Neuville
Andreas Mikkelsen
Sébastien Loeb (6 events)
Dani Sordo (8 events)

Citroen Racing

Sébastien Ogier
Esapekka Lappi

M-Sport

Elfyn Evans
Teemu Suninen
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.

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Chris Nixon

Chris Nixon is Media Manager for Kennards Hire Rally Australia.