M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Gus Greensmith and Elliott Edmondson are on the search for confidence at this weekend’s Rallye Monte-Carlo – their EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC currently holding 10th place overall.
No event requires a driver to be as comfortable behind the wheel as the classic season opener. Nothing but a perfect feeling can tame the changeable conditions, and the young Brits lacked the self-assuredness they found during last week’s pre-event test.
Working towards rebuilding their confidence, Greensmith and Edmondson did show improvement through today’s five speed tests – but an intermittent issue with the intercom also halted further progress through the afternoon loop.
Elsewhere in the WRC 2 category, Adrien Fourmaux and Renaud Jamoul weren’t short on confidence and continued to impress behind the wheel of their EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta Rally2 – second only to experienced rally-winner Andreas Mikkelsen.
Adopting a mature drive with a near-perfect blend of speed and consistency, the Franco-Belgian pairing had the perfect strategy for the challenging conditions – showing pace with stage-winning performances, and holding back when the conditions posed a greater risk.
Currently holding second place with two days of competition left to contest, Fourmaux is well-placed for a strong result on what is effectively his home round of the FIA World Rally Championship.
Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:
“Confidence is key here and there’s no other event that requires the driver to be as comfortable behind the wheel. The conditions are so tricky and so changeable, and you need that assuredness in your driving if you’re going to set the times.
“Gus had that on the test, and he’ll be the first to admit that he’s missed it here this weekend. But he’s still here, which is the main thing. You can’t improve if you’re not on stages, and we’ll continue to work with him and do everything we can to help him regain some of that confidence over the next two days.
“By contrast, Adrien hasn’t been short on confidence and we’re seeing a very mature drive from him this weekend. He understands the complexities of this event and knows that you can’t win it on a single stage. He’s pushed for the fastest times when comfortable, and held back when things became a bit more risky.
“He’s certainly showcased the performance of the Ford Fiesta Rally2, and is on course for another great result – second only to an experienced and proven rally winner.”
Gus Greensmith (10th) said:
“For some reason things just aren’t clicking for us this weekend. The car is good, it’s just the driver and I wish I had the answer as to why things aren’t going right. Normally I really enjoy these conditions. I’ve won here before and I’d see challenging, changeable conditions like this and think, great, I can make some time here. But this weekend, I just don’t seem to have the confidence.
“We’re still here which is the most important thing – and we’re getting the mileage and the experience which is definitely a positive. But it’s not the weekend we anticipated after such a good feeling on the test. We’ll have another look through the data tonight to try and identify where to improve, and hopefully that will be the case tomorrow.”
Adrien Fourmaux (2nd WRC 2) said:
“It’s been another really tricky day out there, but we had good pace and can only be happy with our performance. The conditions were so difficult and dirty with almost every cut full of gravel – so we had to compromise. We set a fastest time, but sometimes we also had to back off the pace as it’s so easy to make a mistake.
“The conditions aren’t going to get any easier tomorrow and they could be even trickier if we have snow and ice – so we need to stay focused. We’ve done a good job so far, and just need to continue like that tomorrow.”