Ignition and sensor specialist NGK has announced it is continuing its sponsorship of the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team for the 2021 season which kicks off this week with the iconic Rallye Monte-Carlo.
The Hemel Hempstead-based supplier has shared many highlights with the team, notably when Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia achieved their sixth FIA World Rally Championship for drivers and co-drivers in 2018.
Mark Hallam, marketing manager at NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said: “We are delighted to continue our association with the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, last year was very difficult for everyone involved in the sport so I’m sure everyone who loves WRC will be hoping for a fantastic new season of rallying.”
Teemu Suninen, Gus Greensmith and Adrien Fourmaux will form the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team squad in 2021 as the Cumbrian-based team continues to champion young talent.
Backing three youngsters already on the books, the aim is to progress their development and see them follow in the footsteps of their predecessors – 2019 FIA World Rally Champion Ott Tänak and 2020 FIA World Rally Championship runner-up Elfyn Evans.
Continuing with compatriot co-driver Elliott Edmondson, Greensmith will contest his first full campaign with the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC, which is fitted with NGK spark plugs and NTK Lambda sensors, and intends to make the most of his first complete season with the top-specification Fiesta.
Securing three top-ten finishes as well as a career-best fifth place last year, the Brit will use the opportunity to further his progression and is already putting in the work ahead of the opening round at Rallye Monte-Carlo from January 21-24.
Joining Greensmith in a second Ford Fiesta WRC at the Monegasque event, Teemu Suninen will join forces with Mikko Markkula this week as the two Finns reunite to showcase their skills on the opening round of the season.
Sharing the Ford Fiesta WRC with Suninen on selected events, Adrien Fourmaux will also contest a full WRC 2 campaign with the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta Rally2 – starting with the classic opener at Rallye Monte-Carlo.
Continuing with Belgian co-driver Renaud Jamoul, the pairing are keen to continue their development with further experience in the FIA World Rally Championship’s premier support series, as well as further opportunities at the sport’s highest level.
M-Sport Ford’s striking 2020 livery will also be carried forward to 2021, albeit with a few subtle changes. A new roof motif is prominent amongst these changes and extends the popular design with further flashes of blue.
Greensmith and Suninen will both sport the Castrol-branded livery at Rallye Monte-Carlo, and a number of Pirelli logos have also been added – the Italian manufacturer becoming the official tyre supplier of the FIA World Rally Championship.
Team Principal Richard Millener said the company, founded by rally legend Malcolm Wilson, was looking forward to the new season: “M-Sport has a long history of supporting young drivers – it’s something that remains very close to Malcolm’s heart, and we remain committed to Teemu, Gus and Adrien as they continue their development in 2021.
“All three have a lot of talent, and we’ve devised programmes to bring out the best in each driver whilst enabling further progression at the various stages of their careers.”