M-Sport Puma for Loeb in Portugal

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team is preparing for a full-scale attack on the gravel roads of Rally de Portugal this week as 2022 Rallye Monte Carlo winner and nine-time world champion, Sebastien Loeb, returns to complete a historic line-up of five Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1 cars.

The highly anticipated event marks the 50th anniversary celebrations of the FIA World Rally Championship; Rally de Portugal featured in the championship's inaugural season and this year's event will celebrate half a century of history, with historic cars and figures making appearances over the course of the weekend.

In tandem with the anniversary celebrations in Porto, M-Sport Ford continues to add to the history books with the first five-car entry in WRC's new hybrid Rally1 era. Despite Portugal's reputation for being particularly rough and physically demanding for both crews and cars alike, the M-Sport team has delivered strong performances on the event over the years with an outright event victory in 2017 and a double podium the following year.

Loeb's return to the team brings more Rally de Portugal experience with him, including two overall victories and a further two podium finishes since his first outing on the event in 2007. The Frenchman will be joined by co-driver Isabelle Galmiche, who guided Loeb to a record-setting 80th victory on Rallye Monte-Carlo in January.

The event hosts some of rallying's most famous stages, including the iconic Lousada super special stage on Friday and Sunday's Fafe power stage, which features one of WRC's most iconic jumps within the 11km final stage. The FIA Junior WRC Championship also heads into its third round in Portugal, where seven of M-Sport Poland's entry-level Ford Fiesta Rally3 cars go head-to-head again in one of the feeder category's closest seasons yet.

17th May, 2022