M Sport Ford World Rally Team Principal Richard Millener says it is great to be going rallying again. The World Rally Championship gets going again this weekend in Estonia for the first time in six month after the global pandemic brought the world to a standstill.
Speaking ahead of the action this week, zmillener said:
It’s great to be going rallying again. I have certainly missed the action – so much so that I got behind the wheel myself on the M-Sport Return to Rally Stages in Greystoke last week. It was good fun and I didn’t embarrass myself, but not in the same league as these guys and I think we’re all looking forward to seeing them blasting through the forests once more.
“This rally is going to be the blueprint for all future FIA World Rally Championship events, and I have to say that the organisers have done a fantastic job in ensuring its safe and successful running. Everything has been considered and planned, and it’s thanks to the hard work of so many behind the scenes that we’re able to get this fantastic sport back up and running.
“Realistically of course, we know that we’re not in the same position as the others teams. With no competition for almost six months, we’ve been hit particularly hard by the global pandemic and had to re-evaluate a lot of what we do. We’ve not had the luxury of testing, but all three crews have had at least some seat time and I know they’re looking forward to being back in action.”
Esapekka Lappi did a great job here in the promotional rally in 2019 finishing on the podium with co driver Janna Ferm and speaking ahead of the event this weekend he said:
It’s been a long time away from the action, so I’m really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel. I was at Estonia’s WRC Promotional event last year and the stages are really nice. They’re quite similar to Finland in some ways, and even faster in some places so the pace is going to be pretty much flat out!
“We know that we’re not in the same position as the other teams and we’ve not had the opportunity to do the same level of testing, but I did manage to drive Lõuna-Eesti Ralli which was really good fun. It was important to get that seat time, and our main objective next week will be to get back out there, get back up to speed, and enjoy rallying again.”
Teemu Suninen commented saying:
“I did some simulator racing during lockdown, but I’m definitely ready to get back behind the wheel of the rally car now! It’s been a long time, and I’m really looking forward to Rally Estonia which will be a bit like a home rally for me now!
“We’ve not had a lot of seat time, but I drove Lõuna-Eesti Ralli with a Fiesta R5. That was quite a special rally for me as I organised everything myself – and it made my appreciate how much the team do for us on WRC events as there really is so much you have to think about.
“We also had a day testing the Fiesta WRC in Greystoke. The stages in Estonia are really fast so it was important to have that day getting back up to speed. And we stayed in Cumbria a few days afterwards too – exploring the Lake District with Rich and catching up with some of the guys before we head out to the rally.”
Gus Greensmith commented saying:
I cannot wait to get back behind the wheel of the Fiesta WRC! We had a couple of days testing in Greystoke last week and I’d forgotten just how much I enjoy pushing the loud pedal in this car!
“We know that we’ve not had the same amount of seat time as some of the other guys, but this is still a learning year for me and the most important thing is to go out there and enjoy it.
“This will be my first time in Estonia and I’ve heard that the stages are incredible. I’m looking forward to experiencing them for myself, and will just aim to focus on my own event – and on learning and improving my times as the weekend goes on.