M-Sport Ford driver Adrien Fourmaux will not make the trip to next week’s Rally Japan – but he does have a future with the team.
After crashing out of the final day of Ypres Rally Belgium, Fourmaux’s trips to Greece, New Zealand and now Japan have all been canned – meaning he will miss three of the last four rounds of the World Rally Championship season.
M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson told DirtFish: “It’s purely a budget thing. There’s nothing else to say, really. It’s the end of the season and the budget is, as ever, tight.”
Fourmaux had been entered into the event but misses both the recce and the Aichi-based rally itself.
Talking about the wider implications of Fourmaux’s absence, Wilson said it would be wrong to read too much into the situation.
“Adrien will be part of our setup next season,” said Wilson, who wouldn’t be drawn further on the precise nature of the 27-year-old’s 2023 schedule.
Beyond M-Sport’s WRC and general rallying commitments, Fourmaux has already conducted running in the team’s development Ford Ranger T1+. Further off-road work is likely.
For the second time this year, Fourmaux’s departure from the entry list leaves just a brace of Ford Puma Rally1s for Craig Breen and Gus Greensmith.
Earlier this season, M-Sport had run as many as five cars with the likes of the team’s Monte Carlo winner Sébastien Loeb and Pierre-Louis Loubet among the drivers.