The 2023 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) season has been one filled with ups and downs for the M-Sport Ford team as it scored a fifth place finish at Monte Carlo, claimed victory in Sweden, stumbled a bit to ninth overall in Mexico, earned second place in Croatia, took home a fourth-place finish in Portugal, secured third place in Sardinia, mustered eighth place in Estonia, and stumbled to a fourth-place result in Acropolis Rally Greece in a challenging battle filled with mechanical issues and parts breakages. Now, as it prepares to continue its championship fight at Rally Chile this coming weekend, M-Sport Ford is adding some fresh blood to its lineup, too.
In what marks the final gravel round of the 2023 FIA World Rally Championship and the only event in South America this season, Ford will field a total of four Puma racers. That includes, of course, one driven by Ott Tänak, who took home victory at the very first running of Rally Chile back in 2019. Pierre-Louis Loubet will be making his debut at this particular event, though his co-driver – Nicolas Gilsoul -is no stranger to its unique challenges.
That group will be joined by newcomers Grégoire Munster and Alberto Heller in the Rally1 ranks, along with Alberto Heller, who is returning to the team after his last Fiesta Rally2 outing in 2020 just in time to compete in his home country. Grégoire Munster and co-driver Louis Louka are also set to make their respective Rally1 debuts, moving up from WRC2 after a solid season.
“It is great to be able to go back to Rally Chile, the return of the event has taken longer than we all hoped, but I am sure it will make for a great weekend of sport,” said M-Sport Ford Team Principal Richard Millener. “I was lucky enough to drive most of the stages last time we were here, and the roads are great. A real mix of everything and it reminded me a lot of Wales. As well as having Ott and Pierre aiming for strong results as the gravel leg of the season comes to a close, it is a pleasure to be able to help Alberto live out his dream, driving the top category of car in front of his home friends and fans, but also Gregoire having the chance to also drive the Rally1 after a very strong season so far.”