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WRC Rally Mexico

M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson drives WRC Rally1 Puma

M-Sport founder Malcolm Wilson has returned to the cockpit to shake down a World Rally Championship specification Ford Puma Rally1.

Malcolm Wilson, Team Principal M-Sport

Photo by: M-Sport

The 1994 British rally champion and WRC podium finisher received his first outing in a fully fledged Rally1 hybrid after plotting the car Jourdan Serderidis will drive at Rally Mexico later this month.

Wilson was called upon to shakedown the Puma at M-Sport’s purpose built 1.7mile test track located adjacent to the British team’s Dovenby Hall headquarters in Cumbria.

The 67-year-old has driven every generation of WRC car that has emerged from his team’s workshop, but had only enjoyed a brief run in an early test mule version of Puma two years ago.

“I have driven every generation of WRC car and to be honest it feels the most complete car in every sense, security-wise for the driver and co-driver, but then everything else that it does as well,” said Wilson.

“It is pretty impressive I have to say. It is difficult to judge as we are on gravel tyres and using gravel suspension on a test circuit, so it is a bit different to being on the gravel, but you can instantly feel that it is the tool to do the job.”

Asked what impressed him the most following the run, he added: “I think it is everything, I can’t say it is the hybrid, it is just the whole package feels as if it is made to do the job.

“It is probably two years since I drove the first one and it has just evolved so much since then.”

While impressed by the WRC’s latest Rally1 machinery, Wilson ruled out the possibility of entering himself into a rally to put the Puma through its paces.

Malcolm Wilson, Team Principal M-Sport

Malcolm Wilson, Team Principal M-Sport

Photo by: M-Sport

“It would be fun but no, my days are over, I’ll leave it to the professionals,” he said.

British rally fans will be able to see a Puma Rally1 compete in the UK for the first time next week (11 March) at the Malcolm Wilson Rally, named after the M-Sport owner, which hosts the opening round of the British Rally Championship.

Serderidis has entered the event in a Puma Rally1 alongside M-Sport WRC2 driver Gregoire Munster, who will take up the co-driver seat.

The field will also include former M-Sport WRC pilot Adrien Fourmaux, who will drive a Rally2 specification Fiesta.

Meanwhile, fresh from a pre-Rally Mexico test in Spain this week, reigning world rally champion Kalle Rovanpera and co-driver Jonne Halttunen are in action in this weekend’s third round of the Finnish Rally Championship in Jyvaskyla.

Rovanpera is driving the Toyota Starlet in which he started his rally career as an eight-year-old, while co-driver Halttunen is piloting a Toyota Corolla 1600 GT. The pair are listed as course cars on the entry list.

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