Welsh rally ace Matt Edwards will drive a Ford Fiesta R5 after his Swift Go Rally Team opted for M-Sport to run their campaign in the MSA Prestone British Rally Championship.
Ever-improving throughout 2017, Llandudno-born Edwards took last year’s championship down to the wire.
A string of consistently strong results included second places at the Ypres Rally, Nicky Grist Stages and both rounds of the Isle of Man Rally – missing out on victory by a mere 0.1 seconds at the latter.
Finishing the championship in third place, Edwards and co-driver Darren Garrod will be hoping for further improvements in 2018 and have every chance of challenging for the ultimate prize – a British Rally Championship crown.
Continuing its international feel, this year’s championship will travel to six events across six different regions: the Border Counties Rally, the Pirelli International Rally, Renties Ypres Rally in Belgium, the John Mulholland Motors Ulster Rally, the 138.com Rally Isle of Man and Dayinsure Wales Rally GB.
With prestigious events such as Ypres and Wales Rally GB on the agenda, the world will be watching as Edwards and the Swift Go Rally Team look to impress.
Edwards said: “Excitement, anticipation – just two things I’m feeling ahead of 2018. This is a fantastic opportunity and I’d like to thank Swift Group and M-Sport for giving me the perfect platform with which to find that extra performance and push for more.
“We had a great year in 2017 and that’s something I want to build on this season. Consistency is really important, and what kept us in the mix last year. Our Tarmac pace was something of a nice surprise too so if we can keep that up, and be consistent on all surfaces, anything is possible.
“Ideally, I’d like to be in the top-three on the first two gravel events of the year – improving on our sixth and fifth place finishes last year. If we can be somewhere near the front early on, we can build our challenge from there and try to fight for some victories. And if the consistency is there, that should see us in contention for the championship which is of course the ultimate goal.”
M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson said: “Matt impressed a lot of people last year and it’s great to see him behind the wheel of the Ford Fiesta R5 again in 2018.
“The Fiesta has claimed the British Rally Championship crown for the past two years running – with Elfyn Evans in 2016 and again with Keith Cronin in 2017 – and I see no reason why that shouldn’t be our goal in 2018.
“Matt works incredibly hard and his dedication matches that of the young team who operate our British Rally Championship programme. He has the speed, but he also has the consistency and that is something that delivers championships time after time. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing how Matt and the Swift Go Rally Team progress as I’m sure is every British rally fan.”
Swift Group Commercial Director, Nick Page, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting one of British rallying’s brightest talents in Matt Edwards once again in 2018.
“After a hugely successful 2017 season driving the Swift Rally Car, we’re supporting Matt and co-driver Darren Garrod to achieve even more in 2018.
“Swift and the rallying scene have a long and fruitful history, which goes back to the early days of our company and the enthusiasm of our chairman, Peter Smith, for motorsports.
“There’s also a real synchronicity between our products and motorsports. Competitors need something mobile and comfortable, that can be parked up and provide a home from home while they’re at an event. Our motorhomes are the perfect fit.”