M-Sport’s fleet of Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta WRCs will be let loose at incredible speeds next week when the FIA World Rally Championship returns to Poland for what is one of the most action-packed and adrenaline-fuelled events on the calendar.

Rally Poland Preview

23 June 2017

Sébastien Ogier, Ott Tänak and Elfyn Evans made their preparations for this fast-paced encounter in Estonia. Also famed for their high-speed gravel, the Estonian roads provided the perfect training ground for the team – allowing the crews to get accustomed to the pace whilst perfecting set-ups on roads representative of the Polish rally.

Testing in Estonia also allowed the team to take advantage of the country’s wide-reaching 4G coverage – activating two live streams from inside the test car. This first for M-Sport provided fans with an opportunity to ride live onboard the Fiesta and attracted more than 260,000 views.

With an impressive string of results so far this season, the Fiesta has secured 10 podiums and three victories from the opening seven rallies. Never failing to finish lower than second overall, the team feel prepared to continue their strong form on Polish soil.


Based in the beautiful Masurian Lake District, the Orlen 74th Rally Poland is one of the fastest events of the year and a highlight for teams, crews and spectators alike.

Contested on sandy roads that traverse the picturesque countryside, the crews will tackle 326.64 competitive kilometres over 23 incredibly fast speed tests.

Poland favours the brave, and those with the confidence to push are never far from the top step of the podium.

At these speeds, even the slightest of hesitations can cost valuable time – time that is hard to regain when the pace is as relentless as it will be next week.

A mistake free drive is a vital step to victory, but that is easier said than done. Tall grasses line a number of sections – limiting visibility on the approach to corners and making cutting a risky business.

A clean run combined with a fully committed drive is the key to success, and that is what the crews will be keen to deliver.

Team Principal Malcolm Wilson is looking forward to seeing the Ford Fiesta WRCs let loose on Poland’s super-fast stages and hoping to continue M-Sport’s successful season.

Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:

“Rally Poland is an event that everyone looks forward to – it’s the first of two back-to-back high-speed events and is a firm favourite on the calendar.

“We’re in for a treat next week and, personally, I can’t wait to see these spectacular new cars let loose on Poland’s incredibly fast stages.

“We had a good test in Estonia and all three drivers came away happy so there is no reason why we shouldn’t be aiming high.

“As always, the podium is our objective and the whole team will be working to continue what has been a fantastic start to the season.”


Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia have good memories from Rally Poland having claimed victory there on two previous occasions; but last year saw the pairing hindered by road sweeping – something that the championship leaders will be keen to limit this time around.

Having secured a good test in Estonia, Ogier is ready to push and will be keen to improve on his sixth place finish from last year – as well as continuing his untarnished string of top-five finishes which is something no other competitor can match this season.

Previous starts: 4
Best result: 1st (2014 and 2015)

Sébastien Ogier said:

“Rally Poland is an event that every driver looks forward to. The pace is incredible and the fast roads give an amazing sense of adrenaline that will only be magnified by the new cars this year.

“I have good memories from Poland having won there twice before, but last year it was probably the worst event for me in terms of road cleaning.

“Leading the championship is exactly where we wanted to be at this point in the season, but if it’s dry that will provide something of a disadvantage on Friday and we’ll need to work hard to limit the time loss.

“It’s so hard to claw back time here, but let’s see what we can do. We had a good test in Estonia where we found a good feeling with the car – that bodes well and we’re ready to push and give it our all.

“Maintaining our lead in the championship is the top priority, and extending it would be a good weekend.”


Fresh from victory at Rally Italia Sardegna, the pressure is off Ott Tänak as he travels to one of his favourite and most successful events of the year – Rally Poland.

The Estonian has a good track record at the event. Having secured the WRC2 victory on his debut there in 2014, Tänak went on to secure podium finishes at his next two encounters – third in 2015 and second in 2016.

On both occasions the victory was in his grasp and, following a positive test on home soil, he and co-driver Martin Järveoja will be hoping to fight for the top step once again next week.

Previous starts: 3
Best result: 2nd (2016)

Ott Tänak said:

“Everyone knows that Rally Poland is one of my favourite events. The stages are so fast and flowing, and that’s something that I really enjoy. I grew up on roads like this in Estonia, and this year will be even more of an adrenaline rush with the new cars – I can’t wait!

“This is a real drivers’ rally. The speeds are incredible and you have to be full of confidence. The pacenotes have to be perfect and the smallest of hesitations can cost you speed and time – something which is very hard to get back on these fast roads.

“I’m sure a lot of people will be looking at us as we’ve done very well here in the past, but let’s see what happens. We won’t have the best road position as the third car on the road, but we had a good test in Estonia and we’re feeling fairly positive.

“We’ve got a good feeling with the car and I’m sure that we’ll enjoy every second of this rally whatever the outcome. The podium always has to be our minimum goal, so bring it on!”


Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt will be looking for a strong result when the FIA World Rally Championship returns to Rally Poland next week.

Having completed a comprehensive test in Estonia, the Welshman took confidence from a number of different conditions that were representative of the rally and will be keen to deliver his best performance on Polish soil.

Previous starts: 3
Best result: 13th (2016)

Elfyn Evans said:

“I’m really looking forward to Rally Poland. It’s fair to say that Sardinia didn’t quite go to plan, but we’ve regrouped and can hopefully secure another good result next week.

“The stages in Poland are incredibly fast and confidence is everything. We tested in Estonia last week where we found a good set-up and that has been a big positive boost for the rally.

“The test road was really representative and we got a lot of kilometres under our belt in a lot of different conditions, so we’re feeling pretty well prepared.

“I’m looking forward to this one, as I’m sure a lot of drivers will be! It’s such an adrenaline rush and a real highlight on the calendar.”


David Armstrong heads up our Turbo department and took time out of his busy schedule to tell us a bit about his background as well as explaining exactly how a turbo works.

How long have you been with M-Sport and what made you join the company?

I have a degree in Business Studies and had a job elsewhere working on CAD drawings. I was basically doing a lot of admin in an engineering environment, but wanted to get involved in the more hands-on aspect of engineering.

Then twelve years ago I saw a job at M-Sport and went for it. I was very fortunate to get a week’s trial in the turbo department and was back there full-time the following Monday – since then, I’ve never looked back.

What does your role in the Turbo Department involve?

All of the engines are rebuilt downstairs in the engine shop, but there are various components that will be mated with the engine when it’s put into the car, and that’s what we look after. We basically look after everything around the engine.

The turbo is one of those components, and to control that we have the waste gate and a fresh air valve which in turn are controlled by the boost valves. They all get rebuilt here and we also clean, test and measure the flow rates of the fuel injectors.

How does a Turbo work?

Good question. My interest in hands-on technical work didn’t include motor cars before I came to M-Sport, so it was something that I had to get my head around pretty quickly!

In its simplest form, the turbo is essentially like a set of bellows for a fire. The compressor part of the turbo compresses the air into the engine – and the more air, the hotter and more powerful the combustion.

To drive the compressor, you have what is best described as being like a water wheel on an old mill – with the river being the exhaust gas. One side of the turbo is the driving force, using the exhaust gas, and the other is the compressor, squashing the air into the engine.

In theory, it’s quite simple and there’s only really one moving part as the compressor and turbine wheels are joined together by a single shaft. But controlling it and manufacturing the components to withstand their environment is incredibly difficult and incredibly expensive!

What differentiates our turbos from a normal road car is that we use an anti-lag system. This keeps the turbo spinning at full speed all the time. If you take your foot off the throttle in a road car, it will stop burning fuel and the turbo slows down. But we want to avoid that and instead retard the ignition when the driver takes his foot off the throttle.

This means that the engine keeps running – flowing gas through the engine and keeping the turbo spinning – but crucially not producing any power. When the driver goes back on the throttle, full boost is available and there is no delay in power.

What are your hopes for Rally Poland?

We’ve got an excellent car and three awesome drivers who have all won their fair share of stages this year. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t aim high and I wouldn’t be surprised if we got a clean-sweep of the podium at some point this year. Fingers crossed for Poland!

Permashine’s philosophy is to supply the best interior and exterior car protection on the market. They have been a supplier to the M-Sport team since 2009, and became a valued trade partner in 2014.

Their products make life easier for our hard-working technicians in each time-sensitive service. Thanks to Permashine, our fleet of Ford Fiesta WRCs are easily cleaned in an environment where every second counts – returning to the stages in sparkling condition.

A moment to remember from Permashine Managing Director, Trevor Hawkins:

It’s hard to narrow all of the amazing moments with M-Sport down to just one! Being a team partner has exposed us to so many great opportunities over the years, but one does stand out. That was having a passenger ride experience with Ott Tänak – a truly unforgettable, money can’t buy moment!


Teemu Suninen is one of the sport’s most promising up-and-coming young talents and will take the next step in his career next week when he gets behind the wheel of M-Sport’s Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC for the Orlen 74th Rally Poland.

Having progressed through the ranks, Suninen has natural talent and speed which M-Sport is proud to nurture as he battles head-to-head with some of the biggest names in rallying.

Having conducted a comprehensive two-day test at M-Sport’s private testing facility this week, the Finn has had an opportunity to get to grips with the top-specification Fiesta in both wet and dry conditions.

With experienced co-driver Mikko Markkula calling the notes, the stage is set for an encouraging debut at the sport’s highest level.

Using the fast Polish stages to acclimatise to the commitment required to excel at this level, Suninen will aim to gain experience before taking to the wheel of the Fiesta WRC once again – on home soil in Finland at the end of next month.

Teemu Suninen said:

“I’ll be taking the next step in my career next week, and it’s a big step – my world rally car debut! The challenge from WRC 2 has been multiplied and I can’t wait to get started. Rally Poland has always been kind to me, so it is great to start this part of my career there.

“Good preparation is really important. I don’t ever expect a debut in a world rally car to be easy, but we have completed a two-day test with M-Sport to get used to the car and find our feet.

“I’ve not had chance to test in Poland so I’ll need to take all of my high-speed kilometres from the rally itself.

“Shakedown will give us our first experience of these fast stages, and then the plan will be to drive smoothly to the finish – gaining maximum experience before my next outing on home soil.”

Malcolm Wilson said:

“I’m delighted to see Teemu behind the wheel of the Ford Fiesta WRC. He is an exceptional young talent with an incredibly bright future ahead of him and it’s fantastic to see him take this important step with the M-Sport team.

“Seeing how he and Mikko work, I have no doubt that they will make the most of next week’s Rally Poland. Teemu is eager to learn and I’m sure that his level of commitment and determination will hold him in good stead – both for the immediate future and beyond.

“I’ve been watching his development for a number of years now, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do at the next level – both in Poland and on home soil in Finland.”


M-Sport will field five Ford Fiesta R5s at next week’s Orlen 74th Rally Poland. Here’s what the RC2 competitors had to say in the lead-up to the event.

Éric Camilli said:

“We had a great rally in Sardinia and now I’m looking forward to the next challenge in Poland, but these two rallies could not be more different!

“The stages in Sardinia were really narrow and rough and you had to be really clever. In Poland, it’s all about being confident and brave. The stages are so fast and flowing and they really are a pleasure to drive flat-out.

“Hopefully, we can continue our good form on these fast stages. We won’t be competing for WRC 2 points, but a lot of the main players will be there and it will be a great opportunity for us to show our speed against them.”

Gus Greensmith said:

“Rally Poland is fast – really fast – and that is a unique challenge in itself. It’s an event I enjoy because of the speed, and because of the high level of commitment that you need to apply in every corner.

“The biggest challenge is in knowing not to push the entry to every corner as you can lose a lot of time on that – especially if it’s followed by a long straight. To be on the pace in Poland, you definitely need to find the right balance between patience and commitment.

“Portugal was a good rally for us, and when we had a clean stage we were fighting right at the sharp end which was great.

“I’d like to make another step forward in Poland. I don’t have a particular position in mind, but I do have a good idea of where I want to be and I’m looking forwarded to realising that goal.”

Pierre-Louis Loubet said:

“Rally Poland is an event that I will always remember – it’s where I had a big crash during shakedown when I was competing in in the Junior World Rally Championship.

“Last year however, I had a lot of fun there and I hope to have just as much this year too. The speeds are incredible and to succeed you need to keep a fast pace whilst staying on the road.

“I’m not scoring WRC 2 points this weekend, so the goal is to take maximum experience ready for a big push in Finland.”

Osian Pryce said:

“I’m really looking forward to Rally Poland. Doing the British Rally Championship with the Fiesta R5, I’ve built up some confidence over the first half of the year and we’ll have a good team around us so I’m looking forward to what will hopefully be an enjoyable and rewarding weekend.

“This will be my third time at Rally Poland and the roads there are definitely unique. It’s a great event with a real buzz about it. The speeds on the stages are incredible, but so are the people – the Polish fans really get involved and have a clear passion for their motorsport.

“Like Finland, the speed in Poland really is on another level. The level of commitment needed is pretty high and you need to find the right balance – between finding that commitment and not overdoing it and making mistakes.

“Of course I want to set some good times and secure a positive result, but at the end of the day I just want to go out there and enjoy it and make the most of the opportunity.”












ANNA Louise Rudd
Media M-Sport World Rally Team

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All The Best, Pablito, Pablo MACHI WRC
Rally Report Magazine Argentina
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