M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Teemu Suninen and Jarmo Lehtinen were on the pace at ADAC Rallye Deutschland today – proving what they and the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC would have been capable of this weekend.
After being side-lined by an electrical issue yesterday morning, the Finns had a point to prove and were quick to show their speed on asphalt. Regularly posting top stage times, they were consistently amongst the front runners and would have been challenging for the podium were it not for their earlier misfortune.
Gus Greensmith and Elliott Edmondson were also continuing a strong sealed-surface debut behind the wheel of the top-specification Fiesta – gaining experience and outperforming a number of their more experienced rivals on occasion.
The youngsters also showcased their mechanical skills after running wide and damaging the steering of their Fiesta on the open stage of the day (SS8). Despite losing three minute to the leaders, the pairing were able to make a roadside repair – changing the steering arm and keeping themselves in the rally.
Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:
“It was good to see Teemu back out there and posting some really strong times. We knew that he and the Fiesta had the pace this weekend, so it was great to see that confirmed today. He’s driven really well, and proven that he would have been in the battle for the podium.
“Gus made a bit of a mistake this morning, but he was able to make a repair on the road section and it was good to see him straight back on the pace after that. He struggled a bit with the Panzerplatte stages, but that’s all part of the learning curve – and he made it through which is the most important thing.”
Gus Greensmith said:
“I’m here, which is the main thing! It was a long day and I didn’t make it easy for myself with a mistake on the first stage. We damaged the steering but were able to make a repair on the road section and were back up to pace pretty quickly after that.
“But I wasn’t able to carry that same pace into the Panzerplatte stages. We didn’t have a test there and it was nothing like I remembered from the R5 – so it was a bit of a shock! The second pass was a lot better and we saw some good progress, but there’s still a lot to learn.”
Teemu Suninen said:
“We can be really happy with our performance today. We didn’t have anything to gain so we were just driving for fun and wanted to show what we could do. The first pass of Panzerplatte was quite dusty, but other than that it was all good and the car was working really well. I enjoyed the driving a lot today, and now I’m looking forward to tomorrow – after a good night’s sleep!”