The line-up with which Sébastien Loeb won the 2022 Monte Carlo rally is teaming up with Neil Woolridge Motorsport to set up the new vehicle: “The base is good, we are starting from a level above the competition”
The Dakar is ready to welcome a new constructor. After the entries of Toyota and Audi, it will soon be the turn of Ford. The American brand, in fact, is already working on the new Ranger T1 +, although there is no official date for the debut yet. The project will involve two structures. The first is the M-Sport team, Ford’s formation in the world of rallying, with which Sébastien Loeb conquered the Monte-Carlo stage of the WRC 2022. The second is Neil Woolridge Motorsport, a South African company which manufactures the Ranger T1+.
The collaboration between these parts is not fortuitous, given that they have been part of the universe of the American manufacturer for 25 years. This time, the objective of this partnership between M-Sport and Nwm will be the sharing of resources to develop the means to attack the Dakar. The first step in this direction will be the formation of a rally-raid assistance program for customers at M-Sport’s head office in Dovenby. A second stage will take place with the dispatch of the first Ford Ranger T1+ to Europe, scheduled for the end of May.
Both parties show great enthusiasm for the challenge. M-Sport CEO Malcolm Wilson begins: “This is an important and exciting prospect for me, after almost 45 years in the rally-raid industry. The Dakar has always aroused great interest in me. It’s a discipline I don’t underestimate though and I’m well aware that it takes years of experience and skill.” Neil Woolridge, owner of the Nwm team that bears his name, agrees. : “For the team and for me, it is a great source of pride. I have always admired Malcolm from afar, just as I would have liked to collaborate with M-Sport sooner or later”.
But what will the new T1 + Ranger look like? Woolridge is optimistic, convinced that the project has interesting premises: “It will be built from a proven base, from the model of the previous generation. This aspect alone will allow our new vehicle to start from an excellent level of performance compared to the competition”. Important words, even if it will still be necessary to wait before seeing Ford at work. M-Sport stressed in its announcement that this is a long-term goal. Translated: It will take years to put every piece back in its place. The dream of the Dakar is however already well under way.
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