Showcasing the power and performance of the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta R5 MkII, Adrien Fourmaux and Renaud Jamoul delivered an event-winning performance at this weekend’s Rallye Monte-Carlo; but the Franco-Belgian pairing had to settle for second place in the WRC 2 category.
Taking an early lead, Fourmaux went on to secure seven fastest stage times but his hopes of victory were undone by two punctures – one through ‘Bayons – Bréziers’ on Thursday evening (SS2) and a second through ‘Curbans – Venterol’ (SS6) on Friday afternoon.
Also contesting the WRC 2 category, Rhys Yates and James Morgan delivered a calm and collected drive behind the wheel of their Fiesta R5 MkII. Despite losing six minutes when becoming stuck off the road on the second pass of ‘St-Léger-les-Mélèzes – La Bâtie-Neuve’ (SS11), they persevered to equal their Monte best with fourth place in WRC 2.
Thanks to the combined efforts of Fourmaux and Yates, the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team lead the way in the WRC 2 Championship for Manufacturers.
Elsewhere in the WRC 3 category, ‘PEDRO’ and co-driver Emanuele Baldaccini also overcame two punctures (SS3 and SS6) and were on course to secure a career-best sixth in class before running wide and damaging the radiator of their Fiesta R5 MkII on the penultimate speed test (SS15).
Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:
“We saw some fantastic pace from Adrien this weekend. Setting seven fastest stage times, he proved that he and the Fiesta R5 MkII had the pace to win but unfortunately he just didn’t have the luck. One too many punctures meant he wasn’t victorious this time round, but he’s made his mark and I don’t think it will be too long before we see him on the top step of the podium.
“Rhys too can be really pleased with his performance. Getting to grips with the Fiesta, he improved his pace throughout the weekend and had a good push today – setting some really competitive times through the more consistent conditions. And thanks to his and Adrien’s efforts, the team leads the way in the manufacturers’ championship.
“And 'PEDRO' was also on course for a great result in WRC 3, so it’s a real shame what happened on that penultimate stage. The car just got away from him on a slippery section, but he drove really well this weekend and I hope he takes that confidence forward to his next event.”
Adrien Fourmaux (2nd WRC 2) said:
“It’s been a bit of a frustrating event because we had very good pace all weekend – and if you take all of the punctures that everyone had out of the equation then we would have been leading. But that is rally and it’s just the way it goes sometimes. I’ve been really happy with the car and the team and now we just have to continue like this and keep fighting for the top results at the next events.”
Rhys Yates (4th WRC 2) said:
“It’s been a tough event and even though you can never predict the conditions in Monte it seemed especially difficult this year. I made a small mistake on the second stage which put us on the back foot and then we never really got back into our flow. But the team and the car have been spot on, and with the more consistent conditions today we were able to have a bit of a push. I made a bit of a ‘Monte Mistake’ on a slow corner on Saturday afternoon which lost us a lot of time, but otherwise I’m fairly happy with my first time out in a new car.”
‘PEDRO’ (DNF WRC 3) said:
“We were on course for a really good result, but this was a very difficult rally and in Monte-Carlo it’s not over until the final stage. I made a little mistake reading the conditions, and the car ended up off the road. It was a shame to end the weekend like this, but we still got a lot of good experience and I am sure that next year’s Rallye Monte-Carlo will be better.”