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Two-time Dakar winner to guide M-Sport’s Rally Raid debut

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M-Sport has been creating the Ford Ranger T1+ alongside Neil Woolridge Motorsport [NWM] and Ford Efficiency to sort out subsequent yr’s Dakar Rally, which will likely be a primary for the British squad.

The subsequent stage of this enterprise will see the operation debut the Ranger for subsequent yr’s Dakar on the Baja Spain Aragon Rally from 21-22 July.

This is step one of a plan for a full factory-backed Ford effort to tackle the Dakar in 2025. It is going to achieve this with an all-new Ranger T1+ to be developed forward of that version, supported by M-Sport and NWM. 

Veteran competitor Roma will likely be one among two drivers to pilot the Ranger in Spain alongside Gareth Woolridge. Roma is one among a choose few to have gained the Dakar Rally on each two wheels and 4, scoring his first triumph on a motorcycle in 2004, earlier than profitable the automobile class in 2014 with Mini.

Roma has been a key member of the M-Sport and NWM improvement squad, with the Spaniard providing his intensive expertise having made 25 Dakar begins.

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“This has been a very nice course of creating the Ranger T1+. The automobile has modified quite a bit because the first time I examined it in comparison with the final check we not too long ago accomplished in Morocco,” mentioned Roma.

“All of the mechanics and engineers have achieved a brilliant job in stabilising the automobile whereas enhancing reliability and growing its efficiency functionality. Now we have been working collectively in a very good route. The Ranger is a robust automobile – we nonetheless have some factors to work on but it surely’s in an ideal place proper now.

“I do know M-Sport from years in the past and the times of Carlos Sainz and Colin McRae. After I was driving bikes, I used to be additionally following rallying. M-Sport has at all times been a high-level staff within the World Rally Championship, preventing for wins and championships. They’re a bunch of ultra-professional people who find themselves superb to work with. 

Nani Roma, Bahrain Raid Xtreme BRX T1+

Photograph by: Bahrain Raid Xtreme staff

“The staff is actually organised and although they’re in a unique surroundings that they aren’t used to, they’ve been fast to know what is required to tackle this problem.

“I at all times work to win in all of the races I’ve entered within the 30 years I’ve been racing. I’ve gained Baja Spain 9 occasions, 4 on bikes and 5 in vehicles, so it could be very particular to win a tenth with Ford for this new undertaking.”

Roma’s team-mate Woolridge is at the moment main the South African Rally Raid Championship and not too long ago triumphed within the 1000km Kalahari-Botswana Desert Race.

Woolridge is the lead technician for brand new car meeting at NWM and one of many staff’s two drivers competing within the South African collection.

He has performed a central function within the design, manufacturing, testing and improvement of the EcoBoost V6-powered T1 Ranger because the undertaking started in 2019, adopted up by the T1+ Ranger undertaking in 2021.

“Now we have accomplished a collection of intensive check periods with M-Sport and NWM in South Africa, Dubai and Morocco. And with the upgrades we have now added, largely with cooling and dampers, it has made an enormous distinction within the efficiency of the automobile,” mentioned Woolridge.

“It’s our first aggressive outing along with M-Sport, so the intention is to go there, study, work, and construct our energy collectively as a staff to ship a very good, sturdy consequence. Crucial purpose for us is attending to the tip in a very good, sturdy place.”

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