M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Gus Greensmith and Elliott Edmondson were faced with classic Rallye Monte-Carlo conditions today – attacking the ice-strewn stages behind the wheel of their EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC.
Finding more confidence on the uphill section of the first stage, the pairing improved with a fifth fastest time in wintery conditions – bettering the efforts of all but three other drivers in the opening split.
But the young Brits are the first to admit that there is more to find, and will aim to use this performance as a confidence-builder ahead of tomorrow’s closing stages.
Elsewhere in the WRC 2 category, Adrien Fourmaux and Renaud Jamoul started with the same clever strategy behind the wheel of their EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta Rally2.
Airing on the side of caution through the opening stage, the pairing were ready to implement the same tactics through the second – before taking a cut and suffering a front-left puncture just two corners into the stage.
Completing with no rubber left on the wheel, the Franco-Belgian pairing lost over a minute but maintain second place in the RC2 class – thanks to an impressive performance over the previous two days.
Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:
“We saw some positive times from Gus today and he seemed to have a lot more confidence going up the hill on the first stage. He’ll be the first to admit that there’s more to find, but we can use that to hopefully extract more of the same tomorrow.
“In WRC 2 Adrien continued his clever strategy today with a cautious start to the opening stage. He was looking forward to the snowy conditions on the second, but picked up a puncture which I know he’ll regret.
“He had don’t cut in his notes, but saw some lines and made a split-second decision to take it. It’s a shame of course, but it’s also a reminder that his notes are good and that he should always trust and drive to them.
“He was so impressive over the past couple of days that he’s still in second place in the RC2 class – but it’s going to be an epic battle between him and Éric [Camilli] tomorrow!”
Gus Greensmith (8th) said:
“It’s been pretty icy out there today! There was quite a lot of grip on the compacted snow at the start of the first stage and I didn’t feel as though I was making the most of it – but to be fair, the splits were pretty okay. I didn’t commit as much as I could after that.
“I wasn’t sending it into the entry of the corners as much as I could, but the driving did feel better. There’s still a lot more confidence to be found out there, so let’s see if we can find some of it tomorrow.”
Adrien Fourmaux (2nd WRC 2) said:
“Just after a long right-hander there is a small left, and I was already focused on the next corner. I took the cut, but there was a rock on the inside which I hit and picked up a puncture. We had to do almost the whole stage on the rim and lost a lot of time.
“It was frustrating because we had a really strong second place and didn’t have to push too much – but that’s rallying. I made a little mistake, and now we need to push a little bit more to keep our second place and keep Éric behind us.”