Sebastien Ogier will delay retirement for at least one more year.
A month after clinching his fifth consecutive World Rally Championship title, M-Sport announced that Ogier will continue with the team for the 2018 season after several months of negotiations. The team also announced Elfyn Evans, who scored his first WRC win in Britain last month and finished the season fifth in the points, will be Ogier’s teammate.
The 33-year-old Ogier admitted earlier this month he was weighing his next move, citing the enjoyment of time at home with his wife and young son, and saying “I’m always analyzing a lot of things in my way of managing the championship and the way of managing my life in general, so I don’t make the decision easily.” He was also believed to have an opportunity to move to Citroen.
Ogier joined M-Sport at the start of the season following Volkswagen’s withdrawal from the championship. His win at the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally marked Ford’s first victory since 2012.
“What we have achieved together has been truly amazing, and we want to see that continue – to continue this fantastic journey and to defend all that we have achieved together,” Ogier said.
“This season has been very exciting with some of the closest-fought competition for years. As a driver, I definitely want to be a part of that. I still get a lot of emotion from this sport, and this team has so much passion. That made my decision clear, and we will work hard to chase more success together next year.”
Ogier and Evans “put pen to paper” spontaneously and signed contracts on Tuesday during a team celebration, the team said.
“After a fantastic season for the whole team, it’s great that we’ll be a part of it again next year,” Evans said. “After getting that first victory under our belts, we’re ready to take the next step and I think we all have another exciting season ahead of us.
“Honestly, I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel and Rallye Monte-Carlo can’t come soon enough. We’ll be working hard over the Christmas break to ensure we’re fully prepared, and the goal will be to build on the success of this year.”
News on a third Ford Fiesta is expected in the next few weeks.