The M Sport Ford WRC Team had a great start to Rallye Monte Carlo on Thursday but for it to end with disappointment. Teeemu Suninen had a fast start to the event but suffered an off course accident after sliding off the road on slippery road marking on Super Stage One.
Speaking following the action the Finn said:
“Everything was going well and I had a really good feeling in the car. Then coming into a corner I lost the line and touched the bank which sent us off the road. It’s a really big shame because the car was quick and everyone has worked really hard to be here. The pace was good and the car was looking really strong, so this isn’t the start to the season that any of us wanted – and with too much damage, we won’t be back tomorrow.”
While Suninen did not finish the day, Gus Greensmith in the second Ford Fiesta WRC EccoBoost had a solid day finishing up in tenth place and speaking following the action he commented saying:
It’s not been a great start for us and all of the confidence we had on the test seems to have gone amiss somewhere. I’m feeling really uptight and uncomfortable in the car, and not relaxed in my driving – so that’s something we’re going to have to try and solve for the morning. There could be some snow in first stage which will make the rest of the loop pretty tricky when it comes to the tyre choice. But they’re all really nice, flowing stages – especially the last one which is probably my favourite of the rally; so let’s see if we can have some fun in there!”
Adrien Fourmaux had a great day in WRC2 where he finished the day he said:
We saw some very tricky conditions today with the grip levels changing all the time. We decided where to push and where to be a bit more cautious and I have to say that I was really pleased with my pace – especially on the last stage which is where we decided to push to make the most of our tyre choice. It was a really clean drive and to be only eight seconds away from the lead is nothing on a rally like this. For tomorrow we should see some snow and ice which means a lot can still happen – so we have to stay focused
M Sport Ford Team Principal Richard Millener commented saying:
Teemu certainly had the pace through those opening kilometres and it was great to see the excitement amongst the team as his splits came in. But that excitement didn’t last long.
“Needless to say, this wasn’t the start any of us wanted – especially after everything it took just to be here. But as disappointing as it is right now, we have to stay positive and remember that we had the pace – I just feel sorry for the team who put in so much hard work to be here.
“Gus was also hoping for a better start – especially after finding such a good feeling on the test last week. But he couldn’t find that same confidence today and hasn’t looked as relaxed behind the wheel. We’ll speak with him this evening, tell him to relax, and look to get that feeling back – and hopefully that will show in the times tomorrow.
“Adrien however has had a really great start to the rally. He took a clever tyre choice and used it brilliantly – being cautious through that first stage and then really pushing on the second. That first split in particular was amazing – faster than all but one world rally car! There’s still a long way to go, but Adrien and the Fiesta Rally2 have started very well indeed.