M-Sport Ford have committed to the future of rallying, pledging to register and participate in the FIA World Rally Championship's new hybrid era from 2022 to 2024. This new commitment strengthens M-Sport's relationship with the Blue Oval, a partnership which has delivered considerable success over more than two decades.

Joining forces in 1997, M-Sport Ford have secured seven FIA World Rally Championships, 61 victories, 262 podiums and more than 1500 stage wins, making them one of the sport's most successful partnerships with an unbroken record of 258 consecutive point scores.

The introduction of hybrid technology into the FIA World Rally Championship signals a landmark development at the highest level of the sport - and M-Sport Ford remain committed to delivering top results with rally-winning technology. The commitment also ensures M-Sport's continuation at the pinnacle of the sport, safeguarding jobs and boosting engineering expertise at the team's Dovenby Hall headquarters.

Aligned with Ford's global strategy towards creating a more sustainable future, the world's toughest championship for production-based cars is now fully committed to the introduction of greener technology; and M-Sport Ford are fully committed to the continuation of their successful partnership.

M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:

"It's always been important for our sport to move with the times, and this commitment to hybrid technology aligns the future of rallying with Ford's global commitment towards a more sustainable future.

"As the toughest championship for production-based cars, the FIA World Rally Championship provides the perfect platform to test, develop and promote the latest road car technology, making this development integral to the relevance and continuation of our sport.

"It has also been integral to the continuation of our successful partnership with Ford and safeguards the immediate future of M-Sport in the FIA World Rally Championship.

"Over the past two decades we have delivered some fantastic performances and developed some of the championship's most successful cars and drivers. Working closely with Ford Performance, it is our intention to continue that success in 2022 and progress on our latest challenger continues with testing both here in the UK and in America.

"There is still a long way to go, but we're committed to delivering another rally winner as the world moves towards a more sustainable future."

1st April, 2021

Oulton Park Rally added to BRC 2021 Calendar

Oulton Park Circuit will now provide the Motorsport UK British Rally Championship with the opening round of the 2021 season as the series commences with the Neil Howard Stages in association with Graham Coffey & Co. Solicitors on 31st May. Despite announcing a six-round calendar of events just last week (16th March), British Rally Championship organisers have since been offered the opportunity to open the season at the Cheshire circuit in May, bringing an additional asphalt event to the schedule.

The impressive Cheshire circuit played host to the opening special stage of Wales Rally GB in 2019 which provided a unique and challenging backdrop for the best rally drivers in the world. That setting will now provide the starting point for the BRC elite in what is sure to be a close-run first round thanks to its tightly-packed yet unforgivable format.

The BRC top-flight will go head-to-head with the popular Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship series regulars for the first time, offering a ramped-up look to the event and the race for overall honours.

British Rally Championship Manager Iain Campbell said:
"The British Rally Championship is delighted to be opening its 2021 season at such a prestigious location as Oulton Park and breaking new ground for the series at the same time.

The BRC prides itself on being a progressive series with each event in the calendar offering a unique characteristic and the Neil Howard Stages is certainly going to provide a very different start to the 2021 season for our championship contenders.

Of course, rallying at a circuit is not a new concept with the Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship enjoying a successful number of seasons now and events like ACI Rally Monza on the WRC tour have proven that the format can work well.

We have been working hard on delivering a calendar worthy of the British title and it's clear in the past 18 months or so we all have to step outside of our comfort zone. The opportunity to get the season underway in May is very appealing I'm very excited to see how the BRC goes at Oulton."

Updated 2021 Motorsport UK British Rally Championship Calendar

1 - Neil Howard Stages with Graham Coffey & Co. Solicitors - 31 May
2 - Nicky Grist Stages, Builth Wells - 10 July
3 - Grampian Forest Stages, Banchory - 14 August
4 - Trackrod Rally Yorkshire, Scarborough - 24/25 September
5 - Beatson's Building Supplies Mull Rally, Isle of Mull - 8/9 October
6 - Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally, Llandudno - 30 October
7 - Today's Ulster Rally, Newry - 20 November

23rd March, 2021

New Look British Rally Championship

The prestigious British Rally Championship will return in 2021 with a revised calendar of events after a radical overhaul from the originally planned schedule. With ongoing restrictions forcing a change to the provisional programme set out last December, the first three qualifiers, the Circuit of Ireland Rally, Corbeau Seats Tendring and Clacton Rally and Beatson's Building Supplies Jim Clark Rally were forced to cancel.

But the re-formatted BRC will now start in July with six challenging events across the four home nations, before closing out the season in November. Four gravel and two asphalt events will make up a compact yet thrilling 2021 season, offering a formidable mix of events. The Nicky Grist Stages will become the opening round of the championship, with a one-day blast across classic Welsh forest stages from its Builth Wells home providing the perfect backdrop to kick-start the series.

Originally announced as a qualifier back in December, the 'Grist' hasn't appeared on the BRC tour since 2017 but is a firm favourite for many championship protagonists. In a first for the BRC line-up, crews will make the trip to Kincardineshire in North East Scotland for the Grampian Forest Rally. Ultra-fast and flowing stages will provide crews with a new challenge and offers up a perfect leveller to the 2021 championship in August.

Trackrod Rally Yorkshire makes a welcome return to the calendar in September, offering flat-out Dalby Forest tests both under the cover of darkness on and in daylight. Last seen on the BRC roster in 2013, the English forests are renowned for throwing up a few surprises.

One of the most popular stage events in the UK steps into the fold in early October, as the Beatson's Building Supplies Mull Rally hosts a spectacular weekend of closed road rallying on the Isle of Mull. Arguably the toughest challenge in rallying, the island event houses a unique format with much of the competitive mileage in the dark, offering an additional challenge to crews and worthy of inclusion of the BRC tour.

Opening the series during the past two years, the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally switches to an October date in 2021, providing imposing forest stages made famous by Wales Rally GB from its base in Llandudno. The final round of the 2021 British Championship will be played out across the infamous and tricky closed-public roads of Northern Ireland at the Today's Ulster Rally. In a shift from its traditional August date, the unpredictable climate in the North Channel will provide a dynamic twist on the BRC curtain call as the battle for the title could well be played out on icy stages this November.

16th March, 2021

Victory in Lapland for Hyundai & Tanak

On then to round two of the world rally championship and the new for 2021 Lapland-based Artic Rally where Hyundai's Ott Tanak claimed a dominant victory to kickstart his 2021 World Rally Championship campaign, beating second placed Toyota sensation Kalle Rovanpera, who is now the youngest-ever leader by 4 points of what currently looks like an incredibly open world rally championship!

Third was Hyundai's Thierry Neuville, almost 20 seconds adrift with returning teammate Craig Breen a further 32 seconds behind in fourth, frustrated in his first WRC outing since last year's Rally Estonia, after being forced to replace his gearbox in order to cure an overnight oil leak. Elfyn Evans was fifth and Toyota Teammate Takamoto Katsuta sixth.

Points leader coming into the rally was Sebastien Ogier, who had battled an unfavorable road position throughout the event and crashed out at the flying finish of Saturday's final stage. Seb, finished way outside the top-ten - with nil poi!

Having failed to score in Monte Carlo, the 27 points that Tanak took away from the Arctic Rally boost him into fifth in the drivers' championship standings and helped halve Hyundai's deficit to Toyota in the manufacturers' points.

Poignantly, a minute silence was held before the prizegiving, in memory of 1983 Finnish world champion Hannu Mikkola who died Friday. The tribute was led by Hannu?s former co-driver, FIA president Jean Todt, joined by his former Audi team-mate, FIA Women in Motorsport president Michele Mouton. An F-18 Hornet from the Finnish Air Force flew past in an added tribute.

WRC Arctic Rally result
1 Ott Tanak/M.Jarveoja Hyundai 2h03m49.6s
2 Kalle Rovanpera/J.Halttunen Toyota 17.5s
3 Thierry Neuville/M.Wydaeghe Hyundai 19.8s
4 Craig Breen/P.Nagle Hyundai 52.6s
5 Elfyn Evans/S.Martin Toyota 1m01.5s
6 Takamoto Katsuta/D.Barritt Toyota 1m37.8s
7 Oliver Solberg/S.Marshall Hyundai 1m39.0s
8 Teemu Suninen/M.Markkula Ford 2m09.0s
9 Gus Greensmith/E.Edmondson Ford 3m39.4s
10 Esapekka Lappi/J.Ferm Volkswagen 6m07.0s

Drivers Championship after 2 rounds
1. Kalle Rovanpera 39
2. Thierry Neuville 35
3. Sebastien Ogier 31
4. Elfyn Evans 31
5. Ott Tanak 27
6. Craig Breen 16
7. Takamoto Katsuta 16
8. Dani Sordo 11
1. Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT - 88
2. Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT - 77
3. M-Sport Ford - 24

1st March, 2021

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