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WRC Rally Poland

The remarkable 22-year streak M-Sport is celebrating at WRC Rally Poland

The Ford squad has scored manufacturer points in 300 consecutive WRC rounds

Mount Cralo 2002 2

Colin McRae

When it comes to streaks in motorsport, M-Sport's run of scoring manufacturer points in 300 consecutive World Rally Championship rounds, spanning 22 years, is difficult to beat.

It's a feat that is unlikely to be surpassed and which is being celebrated by the Ford squad at Rally Poland this weekend after achieving the milestone in Sardinia earlier this month.

To put this achievement into context, social media didn't exist, mobile phones couldn't access the internet, and the current World Rally champion Kalle Rovanpera was just a one-year-old future superstar when this run of results began.

Monte Carlo, 2002 is where this unfathomable streak started when world champions Carlos Sainz and Colin McRae brought the factory M-Sport-run Fords home in third and fourth.

After double title winner Sainz and 1995 world champion McRae reached the finish in Monte Carlo 22 years ago, M-Sport has amassed manufacturer championship points at every rally entered, achieving key milestones such as the 100th event at Rally Turkey in 2008, the 200th coming at Rally Mexico in 2016, and then the 300th at Rally Sardinia this year.

That equates to a whopping 84,365 kilometres of stages completed with 29 drivers and 38 co-drivers contributing points over the journey. During this period, M-Sport has operated as the Ford factory team, but since 2013 it's been a semi-factory outfit, competing against the heavily financed works efforts from Citroen, Volkswagen, Toyota and Hyundai.

M-Sport reached the 300 consecutive point-scoring rallies landmark on Rally Sardinia

M-Sport reached the 300 consecutive point-scoring rallies landmark on Rally Sardinia

Photo by: M-Sport

When asked to explain how his team has achieved such a feat, M-Sport founder Malcolm Wilson told Motorsport.com: "It started when we got the Ford contract and it [the WRC] was all about reliability. Obviously rallying has changed but, in the early days, if you had a good, reliable car you stood a chance of winning or getting a good result.

"We've always tried to do that. We have had a quality control inspection on everything since then and that side of the operation has only got bigger and better with regards to attention to detail, and obviously just a great team of people as well.

"At the end of the day, you can't do anything without people, and I've been lucky that a lot of people that are still working for me have been involved since before this all started in 2002.

"I mean, to be honest, even when we got landmarks like 100, 150 and 200, we were thinking it has to end at some point. In fairness, it's a lot easier now but in those early days, you actually had to be sometimes in the top six to get in the manufacturers' points, so it's easier now than it was then.

"It hasn't been a full factory outfit since what, 2013 and it's some years it's been close if we would even continue. That probably makes it even a bit more remarkable.

"Let's be honest, it will never happen again because which manufacturer is going to still be in WRC for 22 consecutive years?"

Title success on 2017 Wales Rally GB was a major highlight for Wilson

Title success on 2017 Wales Rally GB was a major highlight for Wilson

Photo by: Sutton Images

Reflecting on this run of 300 events, one rally stands out as the most cherished in Wilson's eyes. The event in question is Wales Rally GB 2017 when M-Sport completed a memorable trifecta of rally win (through Elfyn Evans), the drivers'/co-drivers' world titles with Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, and its third manufacturers' crown.

"That 17-minute window at Wales Rally GB when we clean swept anything that can be won is the rally I will always cherish," said Wilson.

"We did it, and to do it with Seb was great. I really wanted to get Seb in 2011, so to have Seb and just the way that him and Julien Ingrassia gelled with the team and the car that year, it was just one of the most amazing moments for me."

While the team will celebrate this weekend, there is of course the matter of extending this streak to 301 events as Adrien Fourmaux and Gregoire Munster aim to complete Poland's 19 stages, with special banding on their Ford Pumas offering a constant reminder of the achievement.

M-Sport's stickers celebrating its 300th consecutive point-scoring event

M-Sport's stickers celebrating its 300th consecutive point-scoring event

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