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slashesNGK-equipped M-Sport WRC team shows pace in Portugal

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s NGK-equipped EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC cars had the pace to challenge for the top results at the Rally de Portugal, but the Cumbrian squad went unrewarded – Teemu Suninen and Elfyn Evans having to settle for fourth and fifth place respectively.

Suninen delivered an impressive performance through the opening stages – a number of top times including a stage win and being just 13 seconds shy of the lead on Friday afternoon, the young Finn had every chance of mounting a challenge.

But his charge was halted on the very next speed test when a broken brake pipe put paid to his hopes. Losing more than a minute, he fell outside the top-five, but recovered to claim a decent haul of points at the end of the weekend.

Evans was also on top form and challenging for the podium before a loose connector caused him to fall from the fight on Friday. Stopping mid-stage to locate and rectify the issue, the Welshman’s mechanical skills meant he was able to continue but he lost more than four minutes in the process.

Unfortunately, Evans had no chance of making an impact on the timesheets, but kept out of trouble to ensure both Fiestas – fitted with NGK spark plugs and NTK Lambda sensors ­– finished inside the overall top-five.

Elsewhere, Gus Greensmith delivered a strong debut behind the wheel of the top-specification Fiesta. Having the better of Sébastien Loeb, Sébastien Ogier and Thierry Neuville on the opening speed test, the young Brit was quick to make his intensions known and continued to post a string of competitive times throughout the weekend.

Team Principal Richard Millener said: “At the end of the day it’s a good result from what’s been a disappointing weekend. We definitely had the pace to be on the podium. Elfyn and Teemu were driving really well and were both in the fight for the top positions. But after both cars hit trouble, there wasn’t really much we could do.

“Everyone knows how difficult it is opening the road in these loose conditions, and it was just unfortunate that that task belonged to us this weekend. Having said that, both drivers kept their heads down and made it through to claim a decent haul of points.”

Mark Hallam, Marketing Manager, NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said: “It was a frustrating weekend for the team but still a very creditable performance which deserved a better return. I’m sure the team’s efforts will soon receive their just rewards in the coming rounds of the championship.


Notes to Editors


Worldwide: NGK Spark Plug is one of the leading automotive and technical ceramics suppliers, with its corporate headquarters in Nagoya, Japan and sales organisations and production facilities all over the world. The automotive side of the company specialises in the fields of ignition and sensor technology, supplying Original Equipment and Aftermarket customers across the globe. Its product portfolio for the Aftermarket comprises spark plugs, glow plugs, ignition coils and leads under the NGK Ignition Parts brand, whilst oxygen and temperature sensors, NOx sensors, mass air flow (MAF) and manifold absolute pressure (MAP) sensors operate under the brand NTK Vehicle Electronics. With more than 14,500 employees, the company’s automotive and technical ceramics activities generate a total annual turnover of around 3.1 billion Euros worldwide. NGK Spark Plug is represented on all continents and has 41 group companies, 24 production plants and five technical centres.


Aftermarket EMEA: NGK Spark Plug has seen significant growth across the Aftermarket since expanding beyond motorcycle parts into the automotive sector in the 1970s. With an outstanding commitment to quality, technology and research & development the company has become the world’s number one in spark plugs and oxygen sensors, and a leading provider of glow plugs, ignition coils and leads as well as further sensor technology. Organisationally NGK Spark Plug’s regional headquarters in Ratingen, Germany serves the Aftermarket across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In the EMEA region – which currently represents 32% of NGK´s global turnover – the company has ten group companies and more than 800 employees, as well as two production plants in France and South Africa and a technical centre in Germany.

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For further information contact:

Andy Hurst

Hurst Media Services

Tel: +44 (0)1354 657253; Mobile: 0773 694 7803


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