How Ypres joining the WRC would cause M-Sport headaches

Moving Turkey an extra week ahead of Ypres wouldn't solve every logistics issue for M-Sport


M-Sport team principal Richard Millener has outlined the race against time the British squad would face if Ypres Rally lands a spot on this year’s World Rally Championship calendar.

As previously outlined, Ypres Rally can only work if Rally Turkey moves forward by seven days, which would mean three rallies in five weeks.

Millener told DirtFish: “Don’t get me wrong, if Ypres is in there, we’ll be happy to go and do it, but it won’t be simple.”

There had been hopes the teams could use their longhaul service park kit in Marmaris, before it heads further east to the season finale in Japan, but Millener says that’s not possible for his squad.

WRC México 2020

Photo: M-Sport

“We can’t make that work. We would have to take the same trucks from Estonia to Turkey and on to Ypres, before they then go on to Germany and Sardinia.

“The logistics would be complicated, to say the least.

“We would have to re-prepare the cars out on the road twice. We’d have to do two days’ [re-preparation] in Estonia before we left for Turkey, then if we could get out of Turkey quickly we’d have to do the same in Belgium.

“You can look at the calendar and think: ‘OK, we’ve got two weeks before Ypres’ but realistically, once the trucks have made the journey it’ll be two days.

“Yes, we’ve done this sort of thing before – we did it between Argentina and Chile last year – but we haven’t gone from gravel to Tarmac [specification] remotely.”


Photo: M-Sport

As ever uncertainty is the shadow hanging over revised 2020 plans, with a shell-destroying accident or a sudden change in border regulations potentially throwing a spanner in any revised logistics plan to incorporate Ypres.

“It’s not simple and the concern would have to be for one of the drivers having an accident which could potentially rule them out of the next event. Or if we have any delays at borders or anything like that.

“Obviously we’re not saying we don’t want to do it, we want to go rallying like everybody – but we have to be aware of the logistical risks involved.”