Nottingham. On the M1. Southbound. It wasn’t where I’d expected to find Adrien Fourmaux on a Friday afternoon, but there he was. In traffic. Heading home.
Remember the Frenchman’s departure from last month’s Monte Carlo Rally? Thought you might. Once the 26-year-old had clambered back up that snowy bank and found his way back to service in Monte Carlo, he was told in reasonably uncertain terms that, having bent it, he could help mend it.
Working with this amazing team has helped me push the accident [on Monte] a little bit further back from my head.Adrien Fourmaux
“I was working on my car for Sweden,” Fourmaux told DirtFish. “I wanted to go to the workshop to work with the guys. It’s difficult when you crash the car to walk in and say “Hello!” but everybody seemed pretty pleased to see me.”
And that Monte crash, let’s be honest, was something of a monster. There was no polishing that one out.
“There was a lot of work to do,” said Fourmaux. “Before I was in the factory, I knew there was a lot of work going to these cars, but now I really know so much more. It’s just incredible to watch the team at work – and it was really a great experience for me to work alongside them.
“I was watching the wiring loom getting fitted, they know so much and don’t forget this is still a new car for them. It’s not like we were working on a Fiesta.
“I helped with lots of areas, with the hybrid, the steering, the transmission and suspension. In a week, we did quite a lot.”
For Fourmaux, however, this wasn’t about a week on the naughty step.
“I think my relationship with the mechanics and the engineers was pretty good before I came here,” he said, “but after this I definitely think it’s stronger. As well as that, working with this amazing team has helped me push the accident a little bit further back from my head. It’s done. I cannot change the past, only the future and the last week has helped me with that.”
Fourmaux’s team principal Richard Millener was pleased to see the Frenchman in the factory.
“I’m very pleased he did it,” said Millener. “It means he’s been in and been around the team before he goes to Sweden. Of course there wouldn’t be a problem between him and the team, but if he arrived straight into the event and was seeing the guys for the first time after a fairly big accident, I think he’d only be human in thinking: “I wonder what they’re going to say?”
“I know he was concerned about what the team thought. The last week has cleared that up. He’s done some good work in helping to build his car for Sweden.”
And that hard work will be rewarded with a day testing for round two as Fourmaux kicks off M-Sport’s pre-event running in Kall, northern Sweden on Monday.
And, after a week at work, like his colleagues, he drove home. Home for him, however, wasn’t quite a dash across to Carlisle or Cockermouth. It was back to France. At least it was the northern bit.
“Not-ting-ham,” he said, in response to DirtFish’s question of how the commute was progressing. “I think I have 300 kilometers [186 miles] to go. It’s not so bad. This morning I was working on the engine and now I’m driving home.
“Honestly, it’s a pleasure to drive through Cumbria. The snow was on the mountains, this is a beautiful place. I love it there.”
“It’s not completely cloudy.”