M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Adrien Fourmaux and Rhys Yates are ready to tackle the second and only winter rally in the FIA World Rally Championship – their EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta R5 MkIIs geared up for this week’s Rally Sweden.
Both drivers got a taste of the event last year – Fourmaux sampling the ice and snow behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta R2T19, while Yates learnt the art of winter rallying in a Fiesta R5 MkI.
Competing in the highly-competitive WRC 2 category, the pairing will be keen to put that experience to good use this year as they go head-to-head with some of rallying’s most accomplished snow specialists.
Due to unseasonably mild conditions of late, the crews will run a reduced route covering 11 stages and 170 competitive kilometres – making a mistake-free run of vital importance whilst also being quick out of the box.
Both drivers will conduct a pre-event test tomorrow (Tuesday), with Yates also testing on location last week. The young Brit was also in action on the opening round of the British Rally Championship last weekend – piloting his Fiesta R5 MkII to the third step of the podium at the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally in Wales.
Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:
“Rally Sweden is a classic, and I think Adrien and Rhys are both really looking forward to getting out there and experiencing these incredible stages with the Ford Fiesta R5 MkII. They’re going up against some pretty experienced snow specialists in WRC 2 – most of whom have a lot of knowledge when it comes to this rally – so we have to be realistic, if a little optimistic too. The goal is for Adrien and Rhys to learn as much as they can whilst enjoying every second – and if we run a clever rally, anything can happen.”
Adrien Fourmaux said:
“It’s really nice to hear that the organisers have found a way for us to go rallying and we can say a big thanks to the Rally Sweden team for that. This is the only full-snow rally on the calendar, and that makes it really special. Driving in the forests with the white landscape and hundreds of fans makes it a beautiful rally, and I’m really looking forward to getting back out there this year.
“I competed in Sweden last year, but this will be my first time with the Fiesta R5 which makes it a completely new experience for me with more speed and totally different lines. The biggest challenge will be in trusting the grip and speed through the corners and learning how to fight on the same level as the locals – but I can’t wait to get started. I plan to enjoy every second, and if I can deliver a smart rally and leave with good points, good stage times and a good experience I’ll be very happy.”
Rhys Yates said:
“We’ve got a really good feeling with the car at the moment and I’ve never felt more comfortable on gravel than I did with the Fiesta at the Cambrian last weekend. The pace was pretty quick at times – as it will be this week in Sweden – so you’ve got to be comfortable with the car moving about underneath you. You’ve got to be comfortable with it going sideways in fifth gear. I got that feeling in Wales and that’s great for me.
“I want to hit the ground running in Sweden. We’ve got a test on Tuesday and then the rally starts Thursday. One thing I’m so chuffed with is how much time I’m getting in the car. By the time Sweden starts I’ll have been in this Fiesta four times in a week – I’ve never had that much seat time before and that can only be good for the confidence!”