Champion Ogier staying at M-Sport in 2018

Sébastien-OgierLONDON: Five-time world rally champion Sébastien Ogier has signed a new contract keeping him at the British-based M-Sport Ford team through 2018 and ending speculation about retirement.

Welsh driver Elfyn Evans, who won his home round of the championship last month, is also staying while Estonian Ott Tänak has left for Toyota.

News on a third car is expected soon.

“It’s great to finally announce our plans for 2018,” Ogier said in a team statement on Tuesday.

“What we have achieved together has been truly amazing, and we want to see that continue – to continue this fantastic journey and to defend all that we have achieved together,” added the 33-year-old Frenchman.

Ogier joined M-Sport a year ago after Volkswagen, with whom he won his first four titles, pulled out as part of a strategic shift to help the German carmaker overcome a costly emissions scandal.

At the end of this season, he had won 40 rallies.

“In Sébastien and Elfyn, we have a strong chance of defending our titles,” said M-Sport principal Malcolm Wilson.

“They’re both very intelligent drivers. There is no doubting their speed, but they also have a masterful approach to strategy that delivers results time after time.”