Thu 13 Jul 2023

Mid-season Review: M-Sport Ford

Two rounds in and the M-Sport Ford team was in dreamland. As the British squad swapped winter coats for shorts and shirtsleeves, the journey from Sweden to Mexico was made with them literally on top of the world.

Returning hero Ott Tänak had scored a solid win in Umeå to lead the drivers’ championship by three points from defending crown-wearer Kalle Rovanperä. It was like the intervening five years melted away and the Estonian had picked up where he left off with M-Sport.

The season opener in Monte-Carlo had been steadier, but that’s often the way for a new team-driver partnership. Tänak has identified areas he wants M-Sport and Ford to focus on to deliver even more performance from the Puma Rally1 Hybrid, but Ott’s ability to remain consistently in the top-six - and second only to former team-mate Elfyn Evans in Croatia - has kept him right at the sharp end of the title fight.

He’s just a single point behind second-placed Evans, admittedly with a reasonable gap ahead to Rovanperä.

Tänak’s hopes of closing that gap will be helped by the arrival of two rallies where he feels very much at home, namely Rally Estonia and Secto Rally Finland on the far side of the Baltic Sea.

Tänak’s team-mate Pierre-Louis Loubet embarked on a maiden full programme this season and has continued to demonstrate the sort of pace which will soon deliver the podium the Frenchman craves.

Greek driver Jourdan Serderidis has driven a third factory Puma on selected rounds this season, offering fans more Blue Oval action to cheer.

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM