M-Sport Ford could double its fleet for 2022 WRC opener
Sunday 19th December, 2021 - 7:37pm
M-Sport Ford is being tipped to launch a four-pronged assault on the opening round of the 2022 World Rally Championship.
Up to 11 new hybrid Rally1 cars in total are expected to contest the Rallye Monte-Carlo on January 20-23.
Although the official entry list will not be unveiled until January 10, 2022, the Automobile Club de Monaco has revealed a series of competitors that are confirmed starters.
Perhaps most notable is that M-Sport Ford could double its fleet, having fielded no more than two cars in any event this year.
The Automobile Club de Monaco said three or four Ford Puma crews will be entered.
Craig Breen and Gus Greensmith have already been confirmed for full-time campaigns with the team next year; highly rated incumbent Adrien Fourmaux and nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb are reportedly in the mix for the season-opener, too.
M-Sport Ford has been predicted by the likes of Hayden Paddon to make significant strides forward in the Rally1 era after a tough few years.
Hyundai will field three i20 N Rally1 cars with Oliver Solberg joining stars Ott Tanak and Thierry Neuville.
It was noted that the latter’s regular co-driver, Martijn Wydaeghe, is still to be confirmed given he is recovering from a serious crash during off-season testing.
Toyota, which has won the past three drivers’ championships, will field four hybrid Yaris cars.
Sebastien Ogier will be in action – he’s sharing the team’s third entry next year with Esapekka Lappi – with his new co-driver Benjamin Veillas following the retirement of his long-time right-hand man Julien Ingrassia.
Also competing for Toyota will be Elfyn Evans, Kalle Rovanpera and Takamoto Katsuta.
The Finnish-based squad could yet expand to running five top-tier cars at some point later in the season, according to team principal Jari-Matti Latvala.
“For the first half of the year I think it would be difficult and complicated to do more than this, but in the second half of the year it’s possible to run a fifth car,” he told the official WRC website.