M Sport Ford WRC Team Principal Richard Millener says that he is excited about the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship season which gets underway next weekend in Monte Carlo. The British team have a new driver with former Citroen driver Esapekka Lappi joining Teemu Suninen as M Sport’s two full time drivers for this year.
Speaking to Paddock Eye at Autosport International on Thursday, Millener said that he was disappointed with how Citroen Racing were treated after it was announced late last year that the French manufacturer have pulled out of the sport, Millener said that losing Citroen leaves a big hole in the championship but that’s the reality.
From M Sport’s point of view, Millener said that the team have a tough fight on their hands but that their consistency should enable the team to challenge for wins and also allow them to be strong in the Manufacturers championship.
We asked Rich if the exit of Citroen would entice M Sport to field an additional car if they had the sponsorship available to which he said that in an ideal world they would field Gus Greensmith for a full season. Millener said he sees the advantages of following the the Hyundai model of fielding different drivers for different events but for M Sport they are happy with the continuity of the three drivers they have.
Millener said that he would rather reinvest any money the team have into the three drivers they already have to give them the best opportunity for success as you can only score points with three cars.
Millener said that with the budget that M Sport have they are not at a disadvantage but that they just have to be at the top if their game for every rally, he said it will be challenging but they are happy with the team they have in place.
Speaking about his drivers, Millener said that Esapekka Lappi will fit in well with the team he has led teams before and has worked with two manufacturers and he can be the older head on his shoulders and he feels that Gus, Teemu and EP will work together.
Having young people it brings a strong team bond and all three drivers are young and keen enough to continue longer term.
When it comes to the schedule, Safari will be good and New Zealand is a real drivers rally. For Millener, he is excited about Japan and is not what he expects after M Sport sent a team out there last year.