The NGK-sponsored M-Sport Ford World Rally Team is preparing for the first round of the season… the famous the Rallye Monte-Carlo which starts on January 24.
Ignition specialist NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd is a partner of the team, whose EcoBoost-powered WRC Ford Fiestas are fitted with NGK spark plugs and NTK Lambda sensors.
Teemu Suninen is returning to the team for a third season and will contest all events with a top-specification world rally car for the first time in his career. The young Finn will be joined by a new co-driver in the form of fellow Finn Marko Salminen.
The 24-year-old said he was looking forward to the first event of the 2019 season but expected it to be challenging.
“I’m excited about the new season,“ Teemu added. “The first day of the season is probably the toughest of the whole race calendar owing to the conditions which are invariably very tricky on the stages with you often having to contend with wet tarmac in the dark and snow.”
Last year M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s reigning World champions Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia secured their sixth FIA World Rally Championship for drivers and co-drivers. However, both have now left the team.
Suninen said it would be difficult to emulate their success: “It will be hard but I’m looking for a top six finish in this year’s championship and an improvement in the rounds I also competed in last year. It is not all about the top speed of the car it is the consistency of performance that matters, and I will be trying my hardest to be competitive.”
He added that he has had previous experience of NGK racing components: “When I was karting a few years ago the only plugs I used were NGK, so I know about their quality and capabilities. Spark plugs are at the heart of the engine and are a crucial part of the overall package.”
Elfyn Evans returns to the M-Sport squad for a fifth season at the highest level and will be joined by Cumbrian co-driver Scott Martin who reconnects with the team that started his international career back in 2004.
The team will be supported at Rallye Monte-Carlo and Rally Sweden with a third manufacturer entry for Pontus Tidemand. The Swede has a long history with M-Sport and Ford which started with victory in the 2013 FIA WRC Academy – one year after new team mate Evans.
Mark Hallam, Marketing Manager, NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said: “We are proud to once again be supporting the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team and look forward to another thrilling campaign in 2019.”
The M-Sport Ford World Rally Team has revealed a striking new livery ahead of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship. The eye-catching EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta livery reflects the fact that 2019 will be an important year for M-Sport as a business.
The automotive industry standard M-Sport Evaluation Centre is due to launch later this year and the silhouette of the state-of-the-art test track is vividly incorporated in the design.
The photogenic nitrous blue colour scheme last used in 2016 returns to the palette and the team’s valued partners are well represented. Ford Motor Company’s long-standing financial and technical support is highlighted with the signature Blue Oval on the bonnet and side panels, while the ‘Powered by EcoBoost’ global trademark remains proudly displayed on the tailgate and rear wing.