M-Sport Ford World Rally Team will use this week’s Secto Automotive Rally Finland to further underline its commitment to helping young drivers progress in the sport.
The team that guided Jari-Matti Latvala to his breakthrough WRC victory in 2008, nurtured Mikko Hirvonen into a world championship contender in 2009 and then gave career breaks to Elfyn Evans, Thierry Neuville and Ott Tanak amongst others, is putting its considerable weight behind Adrien Fourmaux and Gus Greensmith this season.
Fourmaux, 26, has been part of the M-Sport family since 2018 and was handed his World Rally Car debut in Croatia last April, while 24-year-old Greensmith is another long-term member of the M-Sport line-up and is embarking on his first full campaign at the top of sport in 2021.
Greensmith, who scored a career-high fourth on Safari Rally Kenya in June and placed fifth on EKO Acropolis Rally of Gods earlier this month, is a Rally Finland fan but more than aware of the challenge in store on the high-speed gravel roads.
“They’re definitely some of the most enjoyable stages in the world,” said Greensmith. “I think for every driver it doesn’t get much better than driving in Finland, it’s pretty much the pinnacle of the year in terms of the sensation you get behind the wheel with the speed, the speed of the corners, the jumps, everything comes together to give us one of the greatest driving experiences we’ll ever have. That’s why it’s regarded as one of the best rallies. But it’s not easy and that’s why see the Nordic drivers do so well. I feel I’ve always gone well in Finland and it’s a challenge I look forward to.”
Fourmaux, meanwhile, faces a steep learning curve on Secto Automotive Rally Finland, which he’s contesting for the first time in four-wheel-drive machinery on the back of just one previous start. He must also adapt to a new co-driver following the recruitment of his fellow Frenchman Alexandre Coria in place of long-term co-driver Renaud Jamoul, who elected to stand down from the role earlier this month.
“A big challenge awaits us and we will do the best to perform,” Fourmaux said of his new alliance with Coria. “There are many things to discover but I’ve always loved facing challenges.”
With Fourmaux and Greensmith both set to prioritise building experience over chasing stage-winning times, M-Sport is unlikely to be in contention for a sixth Rally Finland victory come Sunday. However, the British team will hope its two rising stars will nevertheless gain vital knowledge as they continue their impressive progression in the WRC.