M-Sport Ford feels well prepared for Croatia / World Rally Championship

The World Rally Championship (WRC) is gearing up for a second time in Zagreb in its first all-terracing event with the third round of the season after a successful debut. The M-Sport comes with four Ford Puma Rally1 cars.

This is only the second time that the Croatian Rally has been staged as part of the FIA ​​World Rally Championship, after its successful debut in 2021, which saw the event endure one of the closest results the sport has ever seen. The rally was an instant success with crews, teams and fans with some of the most brutal and exciting runway stages, with some comparing some stages to Rally Finland but on the tarmac.

Under the microscope: Adrien Fourmaux

This year’s edition of the Croatian Rally consists of 291 kilometers of competition spread over 20 special stages in and around the historic city of Zagreb. Rally Croatia was not the only debut in the World Rally Championship this time last year. M-Sport driver Adrien Fourmaux made his WRC class debut there, finishing fifth overall. He missed his best time there by 1.1 seconds.

This year, M-Sport’s newest recruit, Pierre-Louis Loubet and co-driver Vincent Landais, debuted at the WRC-level Puma Hybrid Rally1. The pair already gained experience with the Puma Hybrid Rally1 after setting a best time of 150km at the Rallye Südbelgien in March and pre-event testing in the weeks leading up to the rally.

Gus Greensmith and Craig Breen will be hoping to continue their strong performance on the Monte Carlo track, as Greensmith scored his first time in the World Rally Championship and Brin scored an impressive result on the podium after a very consistent weekend.

In the WRC2 class, talented Finnish Jari Huttunen is back in the Ford Fiesta Rally2 after the season opener in Sweden. The Finn finished solid third in the World Rally Championship 2 in Sweden and is feeling more and more confident with the feast. The FIA ​​Junior Championships is also entering its second round in Croatia, where the fleet of Fiesta Rally3 cars built by M-Sport Poland will once again compete.

Team Principal Richard Milner said: “We are really looking forward to the Rally Croatia after an encouraging pre-event test where all the drivers gave very good feedback on the car. After the strong performance we saw on the tarmac in Monte Carlo in January, we are really looking forward to this rally after the event. A little more difficult in Sweden. I’m looking forward to Pierre-Louis joining us in Croatia where we will introduce a four-man squad for the second time this season. I’ve known Pierre-Louis for a while, he’s worked hard preparing for Croatia and he’s a great addition to the team.”

Millener continued: “It’s also great to have Jari with us again when he starts at WRC2. I think he’s starting to get comfortable with the car and has worked a lot with the team to make it all right. He put in a solid performance in Sweden so hopefully we see more of that in Croatia, the first event in Croatia last year was fantastic and we had an encouraging pace with the Fiesta WRC whose development was limited so I’m very excited to see what the Puma Hybrid Rally1 can offer. . The focus of everyone on the team in this event is to earn good points. I also loved the city of Zagreb and the enthusiastic fans of our rally there and I look forward to seeing them all again.”

Craig Brin explained: “I’m really looking forward to Croatia, it’s a race that I really enjoy. The Tarmac rallies are actually my favorite, so it would be great to come back to Croatia. We had a really good test last week, I felt really good with the car and I was happy.” Everything. Let’s see if we can continue the pace we showed in Monti, the final part of the asphalt rally. It should be a good event – if not difficult – but the courses are similar to last year, there are some new ones but most of them are relatively the same.”

Gus Greensmith said: “After the team performed in Monte Carlo in a very dry version of the rally, we are very confident in Croatia and I think pre-event testing has confirmed that. We started on a surface very similar to that of the Rally Monte Carlo and the car immediately felt lively. It’s just a car. Impressive on the tarmac, so we’re feeling really good, and I’m really looking forward to this rally. It’s been a long time, so we’re looking forward to getting started.”

Adrian Fourmaux commented: “Last year I had my first event in Croatia in a WRC so it feels like it’s over after a year. We are really looking forward to returning to Croatia where I did well last year and back to the runway before a long series of cobbled events. I think we’ll really enjoy it, it’s a tough race with a lot of different grip levels, but it’s a great rally because you have a lot of variety between stages.The team put in a solid performance on the tarmac early in the season so we hope to be in a strong position after the same event. In a WRC car so I’m very happy with that too.”

Drivers’ Championship mode after 2 out of 13 rounds

location

team / nat / vehicle

points

1

Cali Rovanpera (FIN), Toyota

46

2

Thierry Neuville (B), Hyundai

32

3

Sebastien Loeb (P), Ford

27

4

Gus Greensmith (UK), Ford

20

5

Sebastien Ogier (F), Toyota

19

6

Takamoto Katsuta (J), Toyota

18

7

Craig Brin (UK), Ford

16

VIII

Esapekka Lappi (FIN), Toyota

15th

9

Andreas Mikkelsen (N), Skoda Rally 2

12

10

Oliver Solberg (S), Hyundai

VIII

The World Manufacturers’ Championship stands after 2 of 13 rounds

location

team / nat / vehicle

points

1

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

83

2

M Sport Ford WRT

59

3

Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT

47

4

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT NG

21

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