The M-Sport Ford WRC Team head to Estonia this weekend looking for a strong performance and speaking ahead of the event, Team Principal Richard Millener commented saying:
Rally Estonia is a very different event to what we experienced in Kenya. On the Safari it was all about following a game plan and getting to the finish of what was a very tough and challenging rally. Estonia, however, is flat out from the word go.
“All our drivers have experience of the event and Gus and Teemu will head into rally week on the back of a strong three-day test, where we put into place recent damper development and chassis set-up work.
“We start Rally Estonia not only boosted by a strong result in Kenya, where Gus led Adrien home in fourth place, but we can also perhaps count on a more favorable road position for both Gus and Teemu. We hope they take advantage of that and show good speed on selected stages. A couple of stage wins thrown into the mix would be pleasing to see and if we can stay close to the podium positions then we will have achieved our expectations.
Gus Greensmith scored his best WRC event to date last time out in Kenya when he came home in fourth place and speaking ahead of the event this weekend the Manchester native commented saying:
Kenya was all about being smart, surviving the conditions and managing your pace. Estonia is just about being flat out from the outset and keeping it flat out until the end of the rally.
“I’ve always tended to do well on fast rallies even though we’ve not been as strong as we’d like to have been. But we’ve had a good test between myself and Teemu and I believe we’ve made the car even more drivable and predictable. Looking at the onboards from last year, the majority of the time lost was from big slides or mistakes being made when struggling to get the best out of the car so the changes should help.
“The update made to the engine earlier this year means it pulls better at the top end. It’s a small change but top-end speed is what we need in Estonia so hopefully we can be more competitive than what we were last year. Certainly, the confidence is high in the team after Kenya and a top-six result in Estonia is a realistic target.”
Finland’s Teemu Suninen will compete in his first rally since early last month in Italy and he is looking forward to returning to his Fiesta WRC and speaking ahead of the event he commented saying:
I’ve always loved the rally, it has challenging roads but also super-high speed so something similar to what we have in Finland. Although it’s similar speed-wise there are less crests and jumps in Estonia but there starts to be quite a few artificial jumps, which are hard to understand how far you can jump.
“The surface is more sandy compared to Finland and I would like to think I can take advantage of my road position and hopefully get a better result than last year. Last year we were struggling a bit with the pace, but hopefully the one and a half days of testing we have done will also help.
“Having done some testing I’m not worried about getting back up to speed in the World Rally Car because I have a good feeling and a good understanding from the aero. I don’t think having the rally in July rather than September will make a big difference, apart from maybe with the tyres, with softs in the morning and maybe some hards in the afternoon. The airflow is quite high in the car on fast stages so the heat should not be a problem.”