M-Sport our part in their World Rally Championship Victory.
Hopefully the headline grabbed your attention. We were fortunate enough to be allowed into the hospitality area on Wales Rally GB. So what most impressed us the most. Was it the state of the art artic trailer that jacks up to form a two storey structure. |Or the team of highly skilled technician. Perhaps it was the food produced by a full blown chef to feed the small army of staff and visitors.

They were all impressive but what impressed me most will follow at the end. First some facts Cosworth no longer provide the engines the contract is held by a French company the cars have their engine oil changed at each service presumably to make sure any debris is removed. The clutches are also changed at least once on each rally at a cost of £11,000 just one bolt holding the mechanism in place and they can do it fast, with no sign of stress or anybody shouting has anyone got the 13mm spanner they are seriously good. The focuses or is it foci are built down to the lowest weight possible and then a large amount of weight is added to the sump and rear guards to bring the cars up to the weight limit. This is to lower the centre of gravity of the car and improve roadholding. It creates the unusual sight of the mechanics using a trolley jack to lower the guards away from the car. If you don't know how heavy they are it looks like the technicians must be the wimpyist people in motorsport.

Matt Wilson

Our visit took place on Sunday afternoon at the last service before the road link to the finish in the Millenium Stadium Cardiff. The Marcus Gronholm/Timo Rautinen car came in for a clean and new front bumper to show the car off at the finish. The old bumpers are sent for refurbishment as at £3,000 even M-Sport has a budget. Marcus and Timo were ambushed by Mikko Hirvonnen and Malcolm Wilson on arrival at service and given a liberal dousing of Champagne to celebrity their victory on the rally. In a masterly display of Scandinavian Cool Marcus emerged from the car and commented to Malcolm Wilson "I thought I could trust you" (obviously not Marcus when you've just won a rally). Next in the firing line was a WRC interviewer who seemed lost for words about his wash down.

The rally ended the involvement of one of the team (Chief Test Engineer Carl Goodman I think) notorious for outrageous practical jokes. His send off to his new role at NASCAR started with being wrestled to the ground and then the cable ties and duct tape came out. Its hard to stand up with your arm and legs bound. Its even harder to try and operate a pressure washer to exact your revenge especially when your water supply is turned off.

So what impressed me most at M-Sport? That M-Sport is not some uncaring corporate team we were made welcome on our visit. Three generations were involved in the team probably a unique achievement in any World Championship winners. Matthew driving, team principal Malcolm and Matthew Wilson's Grandmothers working in the hospitality area. We did manage to speak to Mrs Wilson who is a rally enthusiast and is treasurer of her local motor club. She is interested in grass roots motor sport and the difficulties local clubs face and commented on the long history of Maidstone and Mid-Kent Car Club when she agreed to be pose with the club magazine. She is justifiably proud of the purchase of Grizedale forest for M-Sport to use as a test facility but concerned also for the future of the lake district. The last addition of Motorsport headlined "Matt Wilson: The next British Hero?". To his Grandmothers he's already there. I don't know when Matthew will win a world championship event but I do know his Grandmothers will be there cheering him on.

Mrs Wilson

What do you do the day after winning the Manufacturers title and the Rally of Wales GB go on a well earned break perhaps? Not if your M-sport its back to those Welsh forest for testing on Monday. What was our part we were there to witness it.

The rallyboffs

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