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Ogier Monte victory is "just the start", says M-Sport boss

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Ogier Monte victory is "just the start", says M-Sport boss
By:
Jan 23, 2017, 1:28 PM

M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson believes Sebastien Ogier's Monte Carlo Rally win can be "just the start" of a period of more sustained WRC success.

Race winners Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, M-Sport and third place Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, M-Sport, celebrate with Malcolm Wilson
Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, Ford Fiesta WRC, M-Sport
Race winners Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, M-Sport
Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, Ford Fiesta WRC, M-Sport
Malcolm Wilson, head of M-Sport
Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, Ford Fiesta WRC, M-Sport
Podium: race winners Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, M-Sport, third place Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, M-Sport
Malcolm Wilson, M-Sport Managing Director
Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, Ford Fiesta WRC, M-Sport

Despite only having time for a relatively limited test programme in the month since joining M-Sport following Volkswagen's withdrawal, Ogier won the Monte for the fourth straight time.

The Frenchman fell from second to ninth when he slid off the road on Friday's first stage, but recovered all the lost positions before Thierry Neuville crashed on Saturday, handing Ogier a commanding lead.

M-Sport was on course for a one-two before an engine electronics problem dropped Ott Tanak to third on the final morning, while the DMACK-shod third car of Elfyn Evans took three stage wins and sixth overall.

Toyota was the only fully-fledged manufacturer team on the podium, with Jari-Matti Latvala second on the new Yaris's debut.

After Neuville's error, Hyundai had to settle for fourth with Dani Sordo, while Kris Meeke and Stephane Lefebvre had problem-filled weekends in Citroen's 2017 cars.

"There's nothing that scares me out there," Wilson said. "We're the only team that scored a fastest time with all three of our cars and that tells you something.

"It was a lift for the team when Seb first tested the car and then said he wanted to drive it. We knew we'd got it right then and this has given us another lift.

"But this is just the start of what we can achieve. We all know we have got a lot of work to do to keep this pace up and keep improving.

"I want us to be in this same position next season and that's going to take a lot of work through the whole team – from the engineers to the people trying to find us a sponsor."

The result was the first WRC victory for M-Sport since Rally GB 2012, when Jari-Matti Latvala won with what was then still a factory-backed Ford.

"It has been difficult," Wilson added. "We're competitive, we're all in this to win and when we're not winning it hurts.

"I can't believe it's so long since the last one, but we've got the taste for it again. I'm so relieved at this result.

"There's no doubt it's taken a couple of years off my life getting Seb and Julien [Ingrassia, co-driver] in the car, but this result is fantastic for all of us."

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About this article

Series WRC
Event Rally Monte Carlo
Drivers Sébastien Ogier
Teams M-Sport
Author David Evans