M-Sport Ford has set a new standard following the team’s 250th consecutive FIA World Rally Championship points finish.
Esapekka Lappi‘s fourth place and Teemu Suninen‘s seventh-place meant that 18 years of hard work paid off as a new precedent was set which will almost certainly not be beaten for a long time.
The record started 18 years ago when Carlos Sainz and Colin McRae piloted their Ford Focus RS WRCs to third and fourth places at the 2002 edition of the Monte Carlo Rally.
Since then, a total of 22 drivers and 28 co-drivers contributed to the achievement which includes seven FIA World Rally Championship titles.
This includes three manufacturers titles, two drivers championships and two for co-drivers titles., plus an impressive 50 victories and 185 podiums.
M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, is delighted with M-Sport’s success over the years: “This is something I’m extremely proud of and something that I don’t think will be beaten for a very long time, if ever!
“It’s testament to the incredible team we have at Dovenby Hall – and especially when you consider that we didn’t have restarts when the record began. Dedication and attention to detail is something we pride alongside our passion and commitment to the sport, and that’s played a big part in our reliability and success over the years.“
Considering the high attrition rate a rally can bring and how the tiniest of mistakes can lead to an almighty crash anywhere and at any time, it really is an outstanding achievement by M-Sport.
The team has accomplished some mesmerising things along it’s 250 consecutive points streak journey.
A one-two finish for Marcus Grönholm and Mikko Hirvonen at Rally New Zealand in 2006 secured Ford’s first world title in 27 years, and that was followed by a second consecutive title at Rally Ireland the following year.
In 2008, Jari-Matti Latvala became the youngest FIA World Rally Championship winner with a maiden victory at Rally Sweden, whilst in 2011 the Ford Fiesta RS WRC made its competitive debut with a clean sweep of the podium at the Swedish fixture.
Meanwhile, in 2003 Markko Märtin’s victory at Rally Finland warranted a presidential visit, and in 2015 another Estonian made the headlines – Ott Tänak’s Fiesta RS WRC resurrected to secure a championship point after being submerged at the bottom of a lake for more than 10 hours.
Global Director of Ford Performance Motorsport, Mark Rushbrook, was equally proud with the feat: “M-Sport and Ford have together achieved something unparalleled in motorsport – 250 consecutive WRC points finishes fully reflects the dedication and professionalism of the M‑Sport team.
“It is yet another milestone for one of the motorsport’s most iconic and successful partnerships.
“When you consider the longest streak of consecutive points for any F1 team was 81 for Ferrari between 2010 and 2014, and then consider the brutal punishment that WRC cars take, it really puts M-Sport’s achievement in perspective.“
How long can this streak continue on for? It will be fascinating to see when the run of consecutive points comes to an end.