A top trailer maker is celebrating after playing a supporting role in the sixth straight victory in the World Rally Championship by French maestro Sebastian Ogier.
Staff at Ifor Williams Trailers, who have factories in Sandycroft and on Deeside Industrial Estate, whooped with delight after Ogier clinched the title in style as a torrid final day of Rally Australia prematurely ended the hopes of his two possible challengers.
Europe’s top trailer maker supplied two of its versatile Transporta trailers to Cumbria-based M-Sport which has prepared and run the official Ford World Rally Team cars in the competition since 1996.
The rally team also included the flying Welshman Elfyn Evans, son of the rally driving hero Gwyndaf Evans.
M-Sport turned to Ifor Williams Trailers when it was looking for trailers strong and reliable enough to travel thousands of miles a year with its 25-strong M-Sport test team.
Andrew Reece-Jones, the design engineering manager at Ifor Williams Trailers, said: “We were all absolutely thrilled when Sebastian Ogier was confirmed as the world champion again.
“We have been following every twist and turn in the championship and we were delighted to have been able to play a supporting role in his victory.
“M-Sport turned to Ifor Williams Trailers when it was looking for trailers strong and reliable enough to travel thousands of miles a year with its 25-strong test team as they prepare the way for the main rally contingents.
“Two IWT Transportas were chosen by M-Sport for this, which is a testament to the trailer’s quality and success.
The trailers are continually in use, travelling thousands of miles with the M-Sport Test Team.
“They have travelled through Portugal, Sardinia, Cyprus, Finland and Spain to name a few, carrying both cars and equipment.
“By this summer, they had travelled in excess of 60,000 kilometres since February, with the gruelling schedule set to continue until the end of the year.
“The heavy mileage and challenging terrain cannot be understated and it is a huge endorsement of the quality and durability of the Transporta.
“We are proud to be a trusted partner of M-Sport and look forward to working together more in the future.”
Sebastian Ogier said:“It’s been an incredible season and the fight has been so close. Not so long ago we thought it was going to be difficult to take the title again, but we never gave up.
“We gave it everything and had such an amazing team around us, including the test team using the Transportas from Ifor Williams Trailers.”
M-Sport’s development manager Andrew Wheatley said: “We looked at various trailers on the market and Ifor Williams Trailers came to us with their new product, the Transporta. It’s adaptable, reliable and does exactly the job we needed the two trailers to do for us.”
Mr Wheatley added: “The test team and their vehicles work very hard and virtually never stop.
“The two Ifor Williams Transportas, which are towed behind a couple of 28-tonne trucks, have had to deal with everything from forest tracks and mountain roads to small lanes in France, which they’ve done very well.
“They’ve been perfect for what we need and have proven their worth time and time again.
“Apart from being the strongest for the application we needed them for the Transportas also have very good internal volume, not just for carrying a large amount of equipment but also for being able to comfortably accommodate a rally car which is 220 mms wider than a standard car.
“The trailers have been doing a fantastic job for us and we’re really pleased with them.”