Early season surprise falling behind, WRC team boss admits: “Adrien is probably a year away”

The first half of the 2024 WRC season has been positive for M-Sport Ford.
Richard Millener.
Richard Millener. Photo by: M-Sport Ford WRT
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French driver Adrien Fourmaux has already been on the podium twice and has shown positive speed overall. However, last weekend in Rally Sardinia, his run was cut short right at the start due to a technical issue that forced him to retire on Friday evening.

Before his retirement, Fourmaux was in third place and even managed to set top-three times on Saturday afternoon.

“The positive thing was some really good pace from Adrien on Friday and Saturday. I think on Sunday he obviously went out with a lot of hope to score big, and the mistake on the first stage probably affected his confidence a little bit. So it was a good fight back on the Power Stage,” team principal Richard Millener summarized the Frenchman’s performance.

“Two cars finished again. You know, now we are one event away from 300 consecutive points finishes, which would be great if we can achieve that in Poland,” Millener continued.

Fourmaux left Sardinia with three WRC points. Meanwhile, part-time driver Sebastien Ogier overtook him in the standings, pushing Fourmaux to fifth place. The gap to the second-placed Hyundai’s Ott Tänak and Toyota’s Elfyn Evans is now 30 points.

“We dropped back in the championship a bit, but I think the reality is that’s where the fight was expected to be. You know, to take the fight to Seb, Ott, and Thierry is probably a year away for Adrien still, but we’re showing again that the car is there and he’s there, and it can be done,” Millener admitted.

Fourmaux couldn’t do anything about Friday’s retirement. On Sunday, he lost a few points after making a driving error on the opening stage of the day.

“I mean, the alternator issue was frustrating. We need to look into what that was. But the regulations stipulate what kind of alternators you can use. So we don’t know why. We’ll investigate, but it was brand new for the event,” Millener said.

“Then the puncture obviously dropped him some time, and the anti-roll bar blade that broke on the front also broke the brake pipe. So it was a bit of an unlucky fortune of events again. It’s not good enough for reliability. We want the reliability as we had in the first few events. But we’ve got to remember, this event can be notoriously difficult.”

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