M-Sport Ford to start preparing for 2024 in few weeks

The team principal of M-Sport Ford, Richard Millener, does a review of 2023 season and says that it is a shame that Rally Japan marked the departure of the Estonian crew, but reveals that his team will focus on next year in few weeks.

The Malcolm Wilson's team finished on the final place on the manufacturers' championship, but the most important thing is that Ott Tanak and Martin Jarveoja were out of contention for this year's title as the Puma Rally1 faced many reliability issues and is the less competitive car considering the performance of the Yaris and the i20N. Tanak and Jarveoja managed to win two events (Rally Sweden, Rally Chile) and to get another two podium finishes (Croatia Rally, Central European Rally) this season. However, they had to restart many times under the regulations of Super Rally due to mechanical issues, such as it happened in Mexico where they were leading the championship and had to retire on the opening stage of Friday due to turbo issues, while zero hybrid boost hit them in many events resulting in dropping time in comparison with their rivals. The Estonian crew left further behind on the WRC title bid after the end of Acropolis Rally two months ago and their aim was to get some victories before this year's championship comes to an end with Rally Japan. Last but not least, it must be mentioned that the 2019 WRC Champions announced their departure from M-Sport Ford, an announcement that was made a few days after their win in Chile, and their plans for 2024 include their rejoin at Hyundai Motorsport.

"As the season comes to a close, the team can hold their heads up high, achieving two outright victories and numerous stage wins throughout the season", Millener said. 

"Of course, there is an element of disappointment, not being able to challenge for the overall championship victory, but winning in the WRC is not easy. 

"I would like to take the chance to thank all sponsors, partners and fans of the team, without whom, us being here simply would not be possible.

"It is of course a shame that the end of Rally Japan marks the departure of Ott and Martin, but myself and the team would like to thank them for their never give up attitude, and the delivery of two great victories in Sweden and Chile. 

"We wish them all the best next season. 

"The team now have time for a well-deserved rest, with a good group of them staying out here in Japan for a few days to explore the fantastic Japanese culture, but it will only be a few weeks before attention turns to the preparations for 2024. 

"For now, thank you to every single one of them for all their efforts this year, and now I hope they will enjoy the time we have with our friends and families".

Photo Credits: M-Sport

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