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ERC star Sesks secures WRC Rally1 graduation with M-Sport

European Rally Championship event winner Martins Sesks will make a World Rally Championship Rally1 debut with M-Sport Ford as part of a two-round deal supported by WRC Promoter.

Sesks left Renars right

Photo by: Raivo Perševics / Robyworks

The deal will see Sesks and co-driver Francis Renars compete in back-to-back events in Poland (27-30 June) and their home round in Latvia (18-21 July).

As part of the arrangement, the duo are set to drive a non-hybrid powered Ford Puma Rally1 car, marking its first appearance at WRC level in Poland, to aid their transition to the full hybrid version in Latvia.

The FIA passed regulations this year which allows teams to field Rally1 cars without hybrid units with ballast added to compensate for the weight of the plug-in hybrid system.

Sesks graduation to the top tier of world rally has been made possible thanks to a collaboration between the driver, M-Sport and the WRC Promoter.

The 24-year-old is a regular competing in the European Rally Championship driving Rally2 machinery. Last season, Sesks scored wins in Poland and Latvia on his way to finishing runner-up to champion Hayden Paddon. In 2022, Sesks won every stage on his way to victory at the Latvia ERC round.

This year he has swapped a Skoda Fabia for a Toyota GR Yaris Rally2 for the 2024 ERC campaign.

“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,” said Sesks.

Sesks signs deal

Sesks signs deal

Photo by: Raivo Perševics / Robyworks

“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.”

WRC Promoter’s Senior Director of Sport, Peter Thul added: “We identified the need to put more resources into supporting the next generation of potential WRC world champions and assisting them in making the challenging step from the support categories to our sport’s highest echelon. 

“Martins' 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.”

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M-Sport team principal Richard Millener believes Sesks is the “perfect candidate” to debut the new non-hybrid version of the Puma.

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

“Martins 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 Martins able to drive the best rally cars in existence in front of his home fans.”

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