M-Sport have announced the hosting of a one-off ‘Return to Rally’ event on August 22, open to any M-Sport built Ford Fiesta or Focus.
The M-Sport Rally, based in Greystoke forest and therefore near to their Cumbrian headquarters, has been designed in partnership with Motorsport UK to show how the sport can restart in a safe and secure way for everyone involved while celebrating the team’s rallying history.
A total of six stages will take place across 38 stage miles and marks the first gravel rally since the Malcolm Wilson Rally back in March before the COVID-19 pandemic brought rallying around the world to a halt.
“It’s so important for the industry to get back rallying. Of course this has to be done in a safe way, and I hope this event reassures organisers and motor clubs that we can go rallying responsibly,” said M-Sport Managing Director Malcolm Wilson OBE.
“Thanks to the West Cumbria and Eden Valley Motor Clubs for the organisation. They deliver quality events time after time with a dedicated group of volunteer marshals, and I’m proud to see them leading the way as the UK returns to rallying.”
They along with Motorsport UK plan to show several new ways in which the sport can restart under the current circumstances, with documents being kept online rather than in person, time controls working under socially distant measures and recovery vehicles working under the current conditions all set to feature.
The Lake District event will have a strict entry limit of 45 M-Sport prepared cars, with every generation and specification of Fiesta and Focus eligible from the last 20 years and Wilson added: “I’m also looking forward to seeing so many M-Sport cars together on the same event. It’s something we’ve not done before, and it will be a fantastic opportunity to celebrate our success whilst catching up with all of the crews and teams.”
Unfortunately for fans the rally will be closed to spectators, but the team have vowed to show as much action as possible from the one-off event through its social media channels.
Hugh Chambers, CEO of Motorsport UK admitted he couldn’t wait to get the sport back underway and commented: “We are excited to see Malcolm Wilson and the M-Sport operation get behind the restart of rallying in the UK. We had to patiently wait a little longer to get the sport back up and running again, but since our announcement we have been met with unprecedented support from our community.”
“The August event organised by M-Sport, West Cumbria and Eden Valley Motor Clubs, will be one of our eagerly anticipated first events for this exciting discipline since it resumed and will provide a popular test for some of our competitors.”
Earlier this month M-Sport and MSUK completed a filming day where they looked at what can be done to help safely get rallying in the UK back underway.
M-Sport Ford Team Principal Richard Millener meanwhile added: “It’s been good to work with Motorsport UK over the past few weeks. We all want to see rallying get going again, and this event aims to show how that can be done safely and responsibly.”
“It will be great to see some competition, but also to see our community of customers together at one event. When you think back to the cars we’ve produced over the past 20 years there are some fairly impressive machines on the list, and I’m looking forward to seeing as many of them as possible next month. The more I think about what this event could showcase, the more exciting it becomes.”
The M-Sport Rally will take place on Saturday August 22, with strict social distancing measures in place throughout the event.