The team had the pace to challenge…

 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Gus Greensmith and Elliott Edmondson overcame tricky conditions at the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo to bring their EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC home in eighth place overall.

The team had the pace to challenge for the top results this weekend – Teemu Suninen the fastest man before his untimely exit – and coming off the back of a confidence-building test, Greensmith was hoping to use that speed to his advantage.

But come the rally it didn’t translate, and the young Brit struggled to find a comfortable rhythm behind the wheel – missing some self-assuredness at an event where even the most experienced drivers must feel comfortable behind the wheel

Not allowing his frustration to impact the opportunity, he maintained a cool head. Learning for the future, the youngster improved to secure a fifth fastest time, some positive splits and a haul of points on the first event of the year.

Elsewhere in the WRC 2 category, Adrien Fourmaux and Renaud Jamoul showcased the pace and performance of the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta Rally2 – second only to experienced rally-winner Andreas Mikkelsen.

Adopting a clever strategy, the Franco-Belgian pairing displayed a near-perfect blend of speed and consistency – stage-winning performances complimented with a risk-free strategy through the trickier sections.

Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:

“We had the potential to challenge for a good result this weekend, and it was great to see that pace from Teemu on the opening stage. Even without all the upgrades, we can still be as competitive as our rivals in the right conditions – it’s just a shame it didn’t last longer than it did, especially after all the hard work it took to get here.

“Gus had a really good test and was looking forward to the rally, but for some reason it just didn’t click for him. He’s extremely self-critical and I know he’ll have taken the disappointment to heart. And let’s not forgot how difficult this rally is. Confidence is everything, and if you’re missing that it’s going to show. But he made it through – he got the mileage and we’ll work with him to unlock that confidence on the next rallies.

“In WRC 2 it was another very strong performance from Adrien and we’re really happy with the job he’s done this weekend. He had the speed, but he also had the strategy and when you saw him at the stage ends he was always very calm and collected.

“He showed stage-winning pace against a proven and experienced rally winner, but was also able to identify sections where a more cautious approach was required. It had all the makings of an Ogier-esque performance, and Adrien is definitely proving himself to be a real talent for the future.”

Gus Greensmith (8th) said:

“It goes without saying that this wasn’t the weekend we wanted. I had a lot of confidence after the test and was really looking forward to this rally – but as soon as we got to that first stage the confidence just went to zero.

“So much work went on behind the scenes to get us here, and with the preparation we had I know we should have been better. Teemu proved on the first stage that there were no issues with the car – it was just the driver. I have to learn from this weekend, and work hard to get back to where I know we should be.”

Adrien Fourmaux (2nd WRC 2) said:

“It was a really nice rally for us and I’m really happy with our performance. We had very good pace and it was nice to be able to fight with Andreas – a guy who has so much speed and experience in this sport.

“I also have to say thank you to the team because they did a perfect job all weekend and really deserve this result. To finish in the top ten made it even better, and I look forward to continuing the fight at the next rally.”

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Gus Greensmith and Elliott Edmondson were faced with classic Rallye Monte-Carlo conditions on Saturday – 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 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.”