INTRODUCTION FROM MALCOLM WILSON OBE, M-SPORT MANAGING DIRECTOR
Well, the mid-season break is finally upon us and now it's time to reflect on the first half of the year.
2011 got off to a dream start for M-Sport - our new car, the Ford Fiesta RS WRC, had a podium clean sweep at the WRC season-opener in Sweden. Since then, we've had six consecutive podium spots and some of the closest finishes in world rallying including Jari-Matti missing out on a victory in Jordan by an incredible 0.2 seconds. We've been extremely happy with the pace of our new car and such small time differences has helped prove just how exciting the new cars and regulations have made the WRC.
It was a tough weekend in Greece and I'm a little disappointed that we didn't finish the first half of the season with a victory - we've won there seven times in the last 10 rallies but unfortunately we couldn't improve our great record this year. Both drivers performed well - Mikko drove a calculated rally but lost out by a small margin on the final day. Jari-Matti was unlucky and it is a shame as he was in a perfect position to challenge for the victory. Now we must focus on the second part of the season and pursue victories more aggressively - both championships are still open so there's everything to play for.
Meanwhile, we have a few exciting projects happening at our Dovenby Hall headquarters. Our new solar energy project is well underway and is a landmark for our local region. As a company, M-Sport is delighted to be able to push forward in pioneering clean, green energy within our sector. It has been an exciting project for us and very much in keeping with our goal of using the latest technology to drive success both within motorsport and in other areas of our business. The scheme is due to be up-and-running by the start of August.
Next week also marks the official launch of National Motorsport Week, an initiative led by the MSA and the MIA. As an MIA board member myself, M-Sport have been keen to get involved so we've arranged an open day at Dovenby Hall on Monday. There are more than 50 activites happening up and down the country next week so we're delighted to be one of the companies involved.
I will be there to meet everybody personally on Monday and there's going to be tours round the workshop, competitions, special discounts at our shop and lots more. We're really looking forward to meeting everyone and it'll be a great opportunity to give something back to our fans who loyally support us each year after year.
I wish you all a very enjoyable summer and would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for your continued support throughout the first half of the season.