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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Middle East boost for West Cumbria firm M-Sport

Rally boss Malcolm Wilson this week confirmed that the immediate future of M-Sport was secure after a new link-up with Qatar but could not give long-term guarantees over his 230 staff.

malcolmwilson
TOUGH DECISIONS: M-Sport’s Malcolm Wilson

A delighted Mr Wilson announced on Monday that a deal had been struck with the Middle Eastern country to continue running M-Sport cars in the the World Rally Championship next year.

The future of the motor sport company, based at Dovenby, near Cockermouth, had been thrown into jeopardy when Ford revealed it was pulling its sponsorship last month.

The Qatar link has secured the short-term future of M-Sport, but the loss of Ford’s commercial support is still a major issue.

Mr Wilson said: “This prestigious partnership will enable M-Sport to continue at the pinnacle of the sport and we are looking forward to working together in the future.”

The team will be called Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team, with the cars featuring a Qatari livery.

Mr Wilson added: “The new partnership with Qatar allows the company to continue competing at rallying’s highest level. The agreement with Qatar is a big boost for M-Sport, but we are still feeling the effects of Ford’s decision

“Unfortunately, with the reduced commercial support from Ford, some tough decisions still have to be made to safeguard the continued success of the business.

“Having said that, work has not stopped since the close of the 2012 season, and everyone within the company is dedicated to developing the Ford Fiesta for next year’s World Rally Championship and providing the strongest possible package for 2013.”

Mr Wilson’s M-Sport operation, which builds and prepares rally cars, employs staff in West Cumbria and Poland.

Ford will continue to provide M-Sport with engineering and vehicle support, and a new Fiesta F5 car will be launched from Dovenby next March.

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