First non-hybrid Rally1 WRC entry set for Poland

Mārtiņš Sesks will drive a hybrid-less Ford Puma on Rally Poland before moving to a full-fat Rally1 car for Latvia

09_January_16-58-23_NATH (2) (1)

M-Sport will add a third driver to its Rally1 line-up for the World Rally Championship rounds in Poland and Latvia, with the car to be driven by Mārtiņš Sesks as part of a brand new initiative by WRC Promoter.

Sesks, who won both of those rallies last year aboard a Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 when they featured on the European Rally Championship calendar, will pilot a Ford Puma Rally1 on each event’s 2024 edition. But there’s a twist for Poland: his Puma will run without a hybrid unit on that round.

WRC Promoter is directly supporting Sesks’ debut in the category, which it has indicated is the beginning of a new strategy to help push drivers from the Rally2 category up to Rally1.

SI202404120760_hires_jpeg_24bit_rgb (1)

Sesks is set to become the first driver to compete in a WRC round with a non-hybrid Rally1 car

“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,” said Peter Thul, senior director of sport at WRC Promoter.

A key component of that strategy is based around allowing non-hybrid Rally1 cars to compete, a new allowance in the 2024 regulations that M-Sport had pushed for beforehand.

“I’m very pleased to be working on this project with Mārtiņš and WRC Promoter, making use of the new regulations for 2024 allowing us to run the Rally1 cars without the hybrid unit,” said Richard Millener, M-Sport team principal.

“Not to mention this being a more cost-effective solution for customer drivers, it allows drivers like Mārtiņš to make the step up to Rally1 more comfortably so that we can widen the Rally1 field.

“Mārtiņš 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.”

Sesks, who finished as runner-up in the Junior WRC in 2020, currently competes full-time in the ERC, piloting a Toyota GR Yaris Rally2. He retired from the opening round of the year in Hungary while leading, breaking his left rear wheel on the penultimate stage.