M-Sport Ford WRC team principal Richard Millener says he believes that with all of the changes that taken place over the winter the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship season is going to be extremely tight.
Speaking to Paddock Eye at the Autosport International Show on Super Saturday, Millener said that all of the teams have drivers who are capable of winning and that is going to make Monte Carlo very tough.
Millener said that of the weather plays a factor in Monte Carlo which it normally does it will be anyone’s rally to win and that will set the tone for the rest of the season.
Speaking about Teemu Suninen who has made the fulltime move to the second WRC car, Millener said that good thing about the Finn is that he has been with the team for a long time and that he knows the team very well, he knows the people and he knows the car. The Finn did a lot of testing since last year and into this year.
Teemu has switched co driver and he says that it not something the team don’t expect him to get over.
The team want to see consistent improvement from the Finn during the season and where they don’t expect him to win every rally he is a capable winner.
Suninen comes with good reviews and they want to help him move forward.
The team made announcents late last year but Millener said they knew the direction they wanted to take and the biggest hurdle was to make sure that they are in the WRC in 2019.
Speaking about his own role he said it allows Malcolm Wilson to do other things and that they go to him if they need him.
He said that have to structure the company as it grows.
Speaking about the new car, Millener said they have made huge changes just small tweaks on the engine side and the brought in ZF for their dampers.
He said the team have been doing a lot of testing to improve the general set up of the car from what they learnt over the last couple of years allowing them to be prepared for the events. They have done a lot of trying testing.
Millener said that the team did a lot of testing at the end of last year and again starting in early January in preparation for Monte Carlo with Elfyn and Teemu sharing the car testing each others set ups so they understand what they will do.
Pontus Tindemand. was in the car for one day and he has a lot to do for the event in Monte.
When it comes to the addition of Chile, Millener is excited about the event but he warned that although he wants to see the WRC grow outside of Europe they need to find a balance when it comes to financial considerations and that they need to manage the events.
Millener confirmed that the team will not run a third full time car, they have Pontus for the opening two rallies and Gus will be in Portugal.
He said it is something that they can’t do at the moment but they would consider it if a driver wanted to come in as a customer they would be happy with that but with the way the WRC is structured you can only score points with two cars.