M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Teemu Suninen and Gus Greensmith continue to enjoy near-perfect conditions at this weekend’s Arctic Rally Finland – their EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRCs making it safely through today’s competition.
Showing their speed through the narrow, more technical sections, both crews drove well and delivered some competitive split times. But the high-speed sections that characterised much of the day didn’t fully suit the Fiesta.
When the conditions were at their trickiest, the Fiestas were able to demonstrate their pace and ability to challenge at the sharp end – Suninen setting the fourth fastest time despite a spin through a challenging second pass of Mustalampi (SS6).
Elsewhere in the WRC 2 category, Adrien Fourmaux was enjoying an intense battle for fourth place with Norway’s Eyvind Brynildsen. Keeping the snow specialist honest, the position changed hands a number of times and the Frenchman was on course to regain the place before his Ford Fiesta Rally2 became lodged in a ditch.
Unable to free his stricken Fiesta, Fourmaux was forced to retire for the day but will be back to enjoy more winter rallying through tomorrow’s closing stages.
Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:
“As amazing as this rally has been to watch, it’s fair to say that it’s not been our weekend. We’ve been analysing the data, and it was good to see some really strong times from both Teemu and Gus through the more technical splits. We’re right up there when it’s tricky, and that’s a positive we can focus on.
“In the WRC 2 category, it was great to see Adrien battling with some of the snow specialists on what is only his third ever snow rally – and his first experience of conditions as wintery as these. Unfortunately, he just ran a bit wide towards the end of SS6 and with no spectators to help get him back on the road, he was forced to retire for the day.”
Teemu Suninen (8th) said:
“I have been enjoying the driving a lot today. The pace isn’t where we want it to be, but we can see that in the tricky, more technical sections we are capable of setting some top times. The conditions also became a lot trickier this afternoon and we were also able to show a bit more of what we can do there which was good.
“Tomorrow will be quite challenging as the stages will be very fast again. The goal is to make it to the finish, but if we have a perfect run through the Power Stage then there is chance to score a few points there as well. Let’s see how it goes.”
Gus Greensmith (9th) said:
“I’m still ruing yesterday’s opening stage as that hampered our road position today! But generally, the morning was pretty good and I was quite happy with the progress we made. It was a bit trickier in the afternoon as we had to take two spares to contend with the worsening conditions and didn’t really have the right setup to make that work.
“But overall, not a bad day and it’s amazing to drive these cars in these conditions. We know what we need to do as a team, and I’ve been able to identify some areas to improve my driving as well. So it’s all going in the right direction – and we get to go enjoy these amazing stages again tomorrow!”
Adrien Fourmaux (9th WRC 2 / Restart) said:
“In a very slow corner I came a bit too wide and became stuck in the ditch. We tried as hard as we could to get the car out, but with no spectators it wasn’t possible and we had to retire for the day.
“It was a big shame and a really disappointing moment for the whole team as we were in a really good battle for fourth place. I think we were unlucky this time, but it’s part of the game and we’ll be back to enjoy the stages tomorrow.”