The M-Sport Ford WRC Team announced on Tuesday that nine-time FIA World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb will drive for the team in select events during the 2022 FIA World Rally Championship season, starting with next month’s season-opening Rally Monte Carlos.
Loeb will be joined by the returning Adrien Fourmaux as the pair join M-Sport’s full-time pairing of Craig Breen and Gus Greensmith in the Ford Puma Rally1 car which Loeb has helped M-Sport develop over the winter.
M-Sport Ford Managing Director Malcolm Wilson said:
“I am really happy to announce the remaining drivers in our Monte Carlo line up. Starting the new WRC regulations with such a strong lineup is something I am very proud of and goes to show the faith that these guys have in the new Puma Rally1.
“Seeing Adrien given the opportunity to compete in a full season with us is something I am very proud of. M-Sport has a long history of developing young drivers and Adrien is no exception, 2022 gives him the chance to show what he can really do. I am sure he will deliver some impressive performances over the course of the season.
“In relation to Seb, I came close to securing a deal with him back in 2005 but unfortunately at that time we were not able to make it happen. However, with the introduction of the new 2022 Rally1 regulations and following discussions with Red Bull, we both reached out to Seb to see if he might be interested to come and try the new cars – he was, he did and now we find ourselves in a position to say that he will join the team next year! It is fantastic to be able to bring such an accomplished driver to M-Sport and I have no doubt he is still capable of a fantastic result as well as being a mentor to our other drivers. It might have taken over 16 years to get this deal to come to reality, but it is great to see it finally happen!
M-Sport Ford WRC Team Principal Richard Millener commented saying:
I am still quite early in my rallying career, but I have been incredibly lucky to work with some incredible drivers in the last years, having the chance to work with Séb Loeb is something I never really thought would happen. I know myself and the team will give everything we can to welcome him to the team and give him the best possible chance to get the best results.
“Also, finally confirming that Adrien will run with us for a full season is another piece of fantastic news. Adrien is such a motivated and exciting driver, and I am really pleased he now has a full season to be able to prove to us what he is capable of and demonstrate further development of what has so far been a very short career at the top level.
“Even though my job is to look after the rally team on a day to day basis, deep down I am just a huge rally fan and this news is genuinely exciting for me. It has taken lots of work to make this happen, and now I just cannot wait for the start of the Monte-Carlo. I know completing our line up with these two guys will motivate me and the team so much!
Sebastien Loeb is excited to be working with the M-Sport Ford WRC Team saying:
It’s nice to work with M-Sport, it is a very professional team and one that knows how to build good cars. I am happy to work with M-Sport now, since the beginning of my career I was fighting against Ford but I have always known Malcolm to be somebody very involved in the team and passionate about rally, we have always had a good relationship. I am really excited for Monte Carlo, it is really an exciting challenge.
“It was a pleasure to discover the new technology found in the Puma Rally1 cars, I think it is quite similar to the 2017 cars but with a hybrid system added on it. It makes it a bit more challenging to use and it is exciting to have something new to manage in the car. When I tested the car I was really impressed by how well balanced it is and how powerful it is with the hybrid, I really enjoyed it.
“I like what I do, I always enjoying driving, but when I do a WRC event it is just an amazing feeling. It is something I enjoy a lot, I think I can still be competitive, ok Monte-Carlo is maybe not the easiest event to start with a team as there can be some tricky conditions. I have some good memories from this rally and it is always an incredible atmosphere around the rally.
Speaking about his return to the team, Adrien Fourmaux commented saying:
I am very happy to announce I will continue my journey with the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team in 2022! An entire season is waiting for me with the M-Sport Ford Puma Hybrid Rally 1 which is a pleasure to drive. I am so proud of this, it is a very significant moment for me when I remember that I discovered rallying with the M-Sport Fiesta R2J back in 2017.
“For my sixth season in rallying I am really looking forward to competing at the highest level in M-Sport Ford and Red Bull Motorsport colours, and make all the people who believed in me and still believe in me proud. See you in Monte Carlo next month!