CHAMPIONSHIP-WINNING WEEKEND FOR M-SPORT
Cars either designed or developed by M-Sport wrapped up three major titles this weekend. On both the racetrack and the rally stage, the Bentley Continental GT3 and the Ford Fiesta proved unbeatable – Bentley Team HTP’s Maximilian Buhk and Vincent Abril securing the drivers’ title in the Blancpain Sprint Series while LOTOS Rally Team’s Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Jarek Baran claimed both the drivers’ and teams’ FIA European Rally Championship laurels.
Contesting the season finale at Zandvoort in The Netherlands, Bentley Team HTP brought their Blancpain Sprint Series campaign to a close in perfect fashion. Storming to two race victories, Buhk and Abril emerged triumphant – securing the first championship win for the Bentley Continental GT3 since its competitive debut at the 2013 Gulf 12-Hour race in Abu Dhabi. Starting from Pole Position, the pairing could not have got off to a better start but the best was yet to come. Pace-setter Buhk led the field into the Qualifying Race – producing a superb start-to-finish win alongside Abril which gave the German-Monegasque crew a one point lead going into the final one-hour race. Following a flawless drive into the second race, Abril handed the wheel of the Continental GT3 to Buhk. An intense battle for race and championship glory ensued as the German went head-to-head with the pairing’s main rival. Ultimately, it was the Bentley Boys who came out on top – taking the race victory along with the hard-fought and sought-after championship laurels.
Elsewhere in Greece, the Acropolis Rally played host to an historic championship victory for Kajetanowicz, Baran and M-Sport – returning the Blue Oval to its rightful place at the top of the championship standings.
Contesting the FIA European Rally Championship with a Ford Fiesta R5 prepared by M-Sport’s Polish operation, Kajetanowicz secured the title with superb style and grace – sealing his championship-winning campaign with his second victory of the year.
Displaying fast and consistent pace throughout the weekend, the pairing avoided mistakes, won three special stages and finished all but one of the six speed tests within the top-three. As a result, the Polish crew scored 38 out of a possible 39 points on offer – adding both titles to the FIA ERC Ice Master and FIA ERC Gravel Master titles already secured with one round remaining. Showcasing the power, performance and reliability of M-Sport’s latest global rally car, Kajetanowicz’s season demonstrated the perfect blend of speed and consistency – the newly crowned Champion securing 45 out of a possible 117 stage victories when compared to last year’s championship victor who secured just 25. M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said: “It has been an absolutely outstanding weekend for M-Sport – with cars developed here securing three major titles on both the racetrack and the rally stage. To be competitive in a number of different motorsport disciplines just proves how high the standard of engineering is at M-Sport. We have some of the best people in the business, and these laurels are testament to the hard work every single member of our dedicated team puts into our various projects. “To see the Bentley Continental GT3 securing its first major title just two years after its debut is extremely satisfying. When we started working with Bentley we had relatively little track experience, but the skills learnt on the stage transferred perfectly onto the racetrack and, combined with the racing expertise from Bentley in Crewe, we have together become a formidable operation. “Maximilian [Buhk], Vincent [Abril] and the entire Bentley Team HTP squad have had an absolutely superb season. They attended each race with ambition and professionalism and this result was the product of a serious amount of hard work by the team. “On the rally stage, it is particularly special for me to see the Blue Oval back where it belongs – at the top of an FIA Championship. What Kajto [Kajetan Kajetanowicz] and M-Sport Poland achieved in the FIA European Rally Championship is nothing short of sensational. “I know first-hand how much time, effort and dedication was put into this championship campaign and it is fantastic to see all of that pay off in the best way possible. “Kajto is a great ambassador for M-Sport and the Ford Fiesta R5. He is one of the most gracious guys in the sport and he has demonstrated the power, performance and reliability of the Ford Fiesta R5 with real flair throughout the season. A thoroughly deserved and popular victory for all involved.”13th October 2015