Bouffier joins M-Sport

The M-Sport Ford World Rally Team has boosted its effort to defend the WRC titles it scooped last season by recruiting Bryan Bouffier to drive a third works Fiesta WRC at this year's Rallye Monte-Carlo and Tour de Corse.

The Frenchman is a previous winner of both events and regarded as something of a specialist when it comes to mastering the conditions that both events typically present.

He mastered Monte Carlo's icy stages when the event was part of the IRC in 2011 and he won on Corsica's asphalt roads two years later.

He will join reigning champion Sébastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans in M-Sport's works line up when Rallye Monte-Carlo signals the beginning of the 2018 season on 25-28 January.

Manufacturers can nominate three drivers on WRC events in 2018, with the top-two finishers scoring points.

Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson, believes Bouffier could prove to be an invaluable addition to his UK-based squad.

“It’s great to have Bryan on board for Rallye Monte-Carlo and the Tour de Corse. When it comes to these events, his experience is unrivalled," he said. "These are two of the most specialised rallies on the calendar and the conditions and tyre selections can so often determine who succeeds.

"With Bryan’s knowledge, we will have another string to our bow as we look to defend our championship titles.”

Bouffier's outing at this month's Rallye Monte-Carlo will mark the ninth time he has contested the WRC's traditional season-opener and he's relishing the chance to drive a factory-spec on an event where he's enjoyed considerable success in previous years.

“I honestly didn’t think I would get an opportunity to drive this car – not even on test – so I am very excited," he said. "It’s always a great pleasure to work with Malcolm and the M-Sport team, and their amazing success in 2017 makes me very proud to work with them again.

“Monte and Corsica are two very different events, but they are also two of my favourites. They’re the two ‘French’ rounds of the season and it is always a pleasure to drive on home soil – even more so with this new car!

“My plan is to be relaxed and to have fun. I would also love to score some manufacturer points for the team – that would just be the icing on the cake!”

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