What’s your favorite rally car and why? In the latest in our series, we ask some of the rallying and rallycross world’s leading figures about the car which started the passion, what made it so memorable and why it deserves the recognition it got (or not!)
Ahead of just his fifth season of rallying, Adrien Fourmaux is on the verge of his first proper World Rally Championship outing for M-Sport in a Rally1 car. Not this weekend on the Monte Carlo Rally, but soon enough. It’s been a hell of a rise up the ranks for the Rallye Jeunes laureate from 2016, which has since produced a French Junior Rally title in 2018 and a handful of event wins last season in WRC 2 and the European Rally Championship.
If you have followed Fourmaux’s career to date, his choice of favorite rally car will come as no surprise, given the consistency of the brand and the model. The clue is in the initials: FF.
That’s right, a Ford Fiesta. Fourmaux has driven almost all of the Fiesta rally cars over the past five years. From the Fiesta R2J to the Rally3, the Rally2 and the WRC version at last year’s Rally Legend event in Italy.
So, naturally, each model has its own special place in Fourmaux’s heart, which is why he speaks so highly of the R2J, the car which literally helped him forge a path to rallying’s top table.
But it’s the WRC car which takes pride and place as the best. How could it not?
What springs to mind when you think of the Ford Fiesta WRC?
My first experience in the car on the Rally Legend event. It was a great moment for me to be able to drive such a car on the stages, with no pressure as well which really allowed me to enjoy the weekend. Rally Legend is known to be more like a show event, so it’s a mix of proper driving and doing donuts at roundabouts. But it was a really unexpected experience and one which was very satisfying for me. The first time I sat in a Fiesta WRC car was in 2018 as a passenger with Sébastien Ogier when I was doing the French Junior championship. Séb was sort of my idol at the time when I used to be a spectator and not a driver, so that was a big emotion for me to sit next to him, and obviously he won two titles in that car as well.
What is it you appreciate the most about the car?
I really appreciate the feeling in the car, four-wheel-drive obviously, and inside was just, just great. It was lit! Of course, I have driven many versions of the Fiesta in the past, the Junior R2 car, the R5 the last two years, I’ve driven the R4 and now the WRC in 2020. The WRC is undoubtedly the most satisfying to drive because it’s the fastest, the highest performance and really demanding. There are quite a few differences between the WRC and the Rally2, most notably in terms of the speed, the WRC is clearly a lot faster and the driving of the WRC takes some adaptation compared to the Rally2.
What’s your lasting memory of the Ford Fiesta WRC?
Strong emotions clearly, it was the first and so far, only WRC car I have driven. Luckily, I was able to test it prior to Rally Legend with a fair amount of horsepower and the thing that struck me the most was the braking and the stability of the car under load, which was just incredible. Acceleration wise, I had experienced something similar to it before, but the braking is on another level.
It goes without saying that the Fiesta has played a big role in you getting to this point in your career…
I have been fortunate to spend a lot of my time driving a Fiesta, whether it was an R2, an R5 or a WRC car and this is really down to the Rallye Jeunes program, which I won in 2016. The prize drive was a season in the Junior championship driving an R2, and after that I got a funded WRC2 drive, also in a Fiesta. So, it’s been a long collaboration so far, and I cannot wait for the journey to continue this year and get some good results for the team.