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M-Sport Ford World Rally Team is prepared to make its mark on the season opener of the 2024 FIA World Rally Championship, as Adrien Fourmaux and Grégoire Munster will line up in a pair of Ford Puma Rally1s to take on the challenges of Rallye Monte-Carlo.


Marking its 92nd edition this year, the famous Rallye Monte-Carlo still stands out as one of the most demanding rallies on the WRC calendar. Kicking off in the iconic setting of Monte-Carlo’s Casino Square, the rally then sets-up camp in Gap Hautes-Alpes until Sunday, when it returns to Monaco for a picturesque finish. Crews will navigate stunning, yet intricate mountain passes as they grapple with winter conditions, where snowfall narrows roads and introduces unpredictable levels of grip. The only mixed-surface event in the WRC season, understanding the changing road conditions adds an extra layer of complexity to the crews' task as they make their crucial tyre selections during morning and midday services.


Covering a total competitive distance of 325 kilometres from Thursday to Sunday, Fourmaux and Munster, with co-drivers Alexandre Coria and Louis Louka, will look to focus on precision whilst carefully building speed throughout the weekend. Both crews conducted two days of pre-event testing earlier this week and are feeling confident to take on the challenges facing them in Gap. Rallye Monte-Carlo will serve as a crucial platform for both drivers to continue to learn the intricacies of the Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1, laying a foundation for their performances throughout the season.


Fourmaux is the only French contender contesting a full-season in Rally1 and following an impressive 2023 campaign, where he secured the British Rally Championship title and showcased remarkable performances in WRC2 with M-Sport, he earned a well-deserved promotion to Rally1 for the season finale in Japan which has laid the groundwork to secure him his full time Rally1 seat for 2024.


Familiar with the Puma after his adventures in Chile and Central European rallies in 2023, Munster is yet to face the unique challenges of Monte-Carlo in Rally1 machinery. Nevertheless, his track record in WRC2 demonstrates his ability to deliver consistent performances, securing numerous top-five positions and showing constant development throughout the last few seasons. Munster's promotion to Rally1 reflects M-Sport's commitment to nurturing young talent and helping them to reach the pinnacle of the sport.


Rallye Monte-Carlo will also mark the debut of the team’s new livery for 2024, revealed at Autosport International Show last week. This season’s Ford Puma Rally1 retains its characteristic lightning-bolt style, but instead features bold blue striping on a predominantly white body, inspired by heritage Ford liveries from the 1980s. The fresh look offers a unique and updated livery that is already a firm-favourite with long-standing Ford and M-Sport fans.


Richard Millener, Team Principal, said: 

“It’s hard to believe we’re already heading out to Monte-Carlo, it feels like yesterday we finished the 2023 season in Japan! It has been a tight turnaround as usual, but thanks to the hard work and dedication of our team at Dovenby Hall and beyond we are ready to take on the challenges of Monte-Carlo.


“Monte is a notoriously tough event to start the season with, but we feel that both Adrien and Grégoire are prepared for what’s ahead of them. The key for both will be to focus on the bigger picture, you need get to the finish of this rally. It is the first in a long season and consistency for us will be key. The new points system also allows us to get points in the bag throughout the weekend and this is what we are aiming for here.


“I’m looking forward to seeing what both drivers can achieve, we have less pressure than last year, but nonetheless we’re coming in with a strong aim of performing to the highest level."

Adrien Fourmaux said: 

“Our Monte-Carlo test went really well and I had a really good feeling with the car on the mixed conditions that we had on the first day. It’s been positive and I was really happy to be back in a Rally1 car. On the second day we had a full snow stage, with some tarmac also, but it will be a really interesting drive if the snow comes for the rally. It doesn’t seem like we will have that much snow, but at least we are prepared, we never know in the mountains!


“So now we feel really prepared, but we know that at Monte Carlo you need to be humble. You need to have a lot of respect for this rally; especially this year as we go back into the Alps in the proper mountainous areas, where you can have really difficult conditions with snow and ice. So, for sure it will be a tough one, as it normally is in this area of France, but the real challenge will be the weather and the condition of the stages.”


Grégoire Munster said:  

“During pre-season testing we had two good days, one in the snow and one on tarmac. On the snow it went very well, and even though we are not sure if we are going to have those conditions on the rally, if it does then we are fully prepared. For the tarmac testing we got some good mileage, and we tried some different settings and tyre combinations.


“We are fully motivated to start the season well and we are looking forward to getting moving. We want to start the season properly and try to finish the rally by not making mistakes. If we kick off the year on a positive note, we can carry on the momentum and build up the pace throughout the season.”

Published 19 January 2024


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