M-Sport hopes travel restrictions won’t affect Monte plans

The team still plans to be in France for its pre-event test in the second week of January

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For the second season in succession, there is concern among British-based World Rally Championship workers at increased restrictions around entering France for next month’s Monte Carlo Rally.

Since Saturday, the French government has put in place tighter controls on movement across the English Channel.

A government statement said: “Faced with the extremely rapid spread of the Omicron variant in the UK, the government has chosen to reinstate the need for an essential reason for travel from and to the UK.

“People cannot travel for touristic or professional reasons, [there is a] requirement to have an essential reason to travel to, or come from, the UK, both for the unvaccinated and vaccinated.”

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Earlier this year, the British-based M-Sport team only received permission to travel to the event with days to spare before the start of the 2021 season. That decision came following a late change in quarantine policy.

M-Sport team principal Richard Millener is hoping for a similar result next month.

“Our plans for Monte Carlo remain unchanged,” said Millener. “We plan to be in France for our pre-event test in the second week in January and all of our logistics remain built around that.

“Obviously we’re very well aware of the situation and we’re watching it carefully. Last year the organizers of Monte Carlo did a great job in a difficult [COVID-19] situation and we’re confident they will do the same again.

“We’ve spent much of the last two years working with ever-changing restrictions and rolling with decisions taken very much at the last minute – we’ve grown pretty adept at it.

“At the same time, I would say we’re three weeks away from vehicles leaving M-Sport and a lot can happen before then.”

Words:David Evans

Photography:M-Sport

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