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MARTINS SESKS MAKES FORD PUMA RALLY1 DEBUTS IN POLAND AND LATVIA

Mārtiņš Sesks and M-Sport Ford World Rally Team, with the support of the WRC Promoter, will make his top-level debut on two back-to-back events of this year’s championship, as well as piloting the first non-hybrid appearance of the Puma Rally1 at a FIA World Rally Championship event.


Sesks and co-driver Francis Renārs will make the competitive debut of non-hybrid Rally1 machinery on the highly anticipated return of Rally Poland in June.  With the FIA’s updated regulations for 2024, allowing Rally1 cars to compete with equivalent ballast weight in lieu of the plug-in hybrid system, the step-up to Rally1 machinery becomes more attractive and accessible to competitors.


The non-hybrid appearance will bridge the gap between Sesks’ transition from competing in Rally2 in the FIA European Rally Championship to Rally1. Allowing him to adjust to the increased power and weight of the Puma, using non-hybrid in Poland will prepare him for his full hybrid outing on his home rally, the all-new Rally Latvia, just a few weeks later.


M-Sport has worked with Sesks’ team and the WRC Promoter on this project in order to support the increase of Rally1 entries on WRC events. Increasing the accessibility of the sport’s top-flight aligns with M-Sport’s and the WRC Promoter’s goals to support future rally talent, giving opportunities to candidates like Sesks to prove themselves amongst the sport’s superstars.


Sesks arrives to his Rally1 debut with an already impressive roster. Making his ERC debut in 2016, he advanced to a full season only a year later, and by 2018 had claimed both the ERC3 and Junior ERC championship titles with co-driver Renārs. Upgrading to Rally2 machinery in 2022, Sesks claimed a stunning win on his home rally, Tet Rally Liepaja, with a clean sweep of stage wins.


The 2023 ERC season saw Sesks come into his own, claiming the win on Rally Poland, followed by a podium finish in Hungary, the Latvian driver completed the season second in the championship.


Also no stranger to world rally stages, Sesks competed in the Junior WRC between 2020-2021 and was runner-up for the championship win in 2020. His combined experience and knowledge of European stages in ERC and JWRC set him in good stead for his debuts in Poland and Latvia.


Richard Millener, Team Principal, said:

“I’m very pleased to be working on this project with Mārtiņš and the WRC Promoter, making use of the new regulations for 2024 allowing us to run the Rally1 cars without the hybrid unit. Not to mention this being a more cost-effective solution for customer drivers, it allows drivers like Mārtiņš to make the step up to Rally1 more comfortably so that we can widen the Rally1 field.


“Mārtiņš has an impressive resume and is a perfect candidate for debuting this new non-hybrid strategy. It was a good opportunity to give him the seat time in Poland before competing with full hybrid on his home event. It will be fantastic to see Mārtiņš able to drive the best rally cars in existence in front of his home fans.”


Peter Thul, WRC Promoter’s Senior Director of Sport, said:

“We identified the need to put more resources into supporting the next generation of potential WRC world champions and assisting them on making the challenging step from the support categories to our sport’s highest echelon. 


“Mārtiņš performances in the past two seasons of the ERC have deemed him a worthy recipient of this support. He has demonstrated a winning edge in Latvia and Poland and we believe that with time, he will become a regular face in the WRC.”


Mārtiņš Sesks said: 

“I am sincerely grateful, as it is a dream come true to join forces with the M-Sport World Rally Team and the WRC Promoter for this remarkable opportunity to advance from Rally2 to Rally1 level. I must admit, it takes saying it twice to fully believe that we will soon be competing alongside the world's most elite drivers with Rally1 machinery.


“The journey to this point has been a massive effort of many people, particularly my family, whose rallying legacy dates back to my grandfather's inaugural event in Liepaja in 1965. Now, 59 years later, I have the opportunity to participate in the same rally but as a WRC event. While adapting to Rally1 machinery will undoubtedly demand our unwavering focus and commitment, we are fully prepared to give it our all. Being entrusted with piloting the first non-hybrid appearance of the Puma Rally1 makes it more exciting for us to see what the future brings.”




Imagery: Raivo Perševics / Robyworks 


Published 22 April 2024

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