The MRF Tyres M-Sport Fiesta R5 that Gaurav Gill and co-driver Glenn MacNeall will pilot in the WRC-2 category has been been revealed ahead of its World Rally Championship debut at Rally Italia Sardegna.
The red and while colours that Indian motorsport fans had been used to seeing in the Indian National Rally Championship and the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) will now be seen on a Ford Fiesta prepared by the outfit that runs Ford's campaign in the top WRC class.
Gill and MacNeall have already been testing the car around the M-Sport headquarters near Dovenby in England in order to familiarize themselves with their new R5 machine - they had earlier piloted an R5-specification Skoda Fabia in the APRC - before competing with it in anger.
MRF Tyres' WRC-2 campaign this year will be more akin to a fact-finding mission rather than an all-out assault for wins, however, as it will learn the surroundings of its latest competitive arena.
“It is a huge honour for me to represent Team MRF at World Rally Championship level,” said Gill.
“MRF tyres has evolved a lot over the years and being the best tyre manufacturer in the region, WRC is best platform to showcase the product development.
“To achieve what no Indian tyre manufacturer has ever done before and compete in what it is considered to be the most difficult motorsport championship in the world, is a huge achievement.”
For Macneall, who has competed in 100 WRC events, Rally Italia Sardegna is a return to MRF after many successful years competing with Gill in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship.
The MRF Tyres Fiesta R5 will be one of four cars serviced by M-Sport at Rally Italia Sardegna, alongside the three works WRC cars. It will be the seventh round of the WRC and will be held on 20 gravel stages around Alghero, Sardinia for a total competitive distance of 317.32km.