How Fourmaux learned to walk again

Frenchman Adrien Fourmaux talks about bringing it home in Monte Carlo and the year ahead


Everything has changed for Adrien Fourmaux. Everything and nothing. Granted, we’re only one round in, so let’s try to avoid snap judgements… but the Frenchman looked solid, strong and sensible on last month’s Monte Carlo Rally.

When M-Sport Ford team principal Richard Millener handed him the keys to a Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid, he made it clear he wanted to see the car harborside in Monaco on Sunday. And in fourth or fifth place.

Fourmaux delivered. The pain of climbing from a broken car pinballed off a mountain and cartwheeled over a cliff remains fresh in the memory. It serves as both the carrot and the stick: avoid a repeat and the world sits at his feet, do it again and his stay at Dovenby Hall could be short-lived.

He’s learning to walk again. Typically, he’s doing it with an eye on his running shoes.


Starting steady: Fifth place on the Monte was a solid start to Fourmaux's Rally1 comeback 

“We built a good rally,” Fourmaux told DirtFish. “We made a platform to move ahead. We had a good time on Friday, Saturday we were managing a little bit and then we had to push to keep fifth position on Sunday. It’s really positive.

“I’ve learned from last year to manage events a little bit more. That’s what I wanted to do in Monte and we did – it seems to be working also in the Rally1, so I’m quite happy with that.”

Fourmaux feels there’s more to come from both him and the car as the season progresses.

“There are some places we maybe miss performance,” he said. “But we need to understand if it’s coming from me, or the tires. Am I too hard on the tires? Or the car? We need to have a look at it, but I think in places like Col de Turini (dry asphalt) I think we could have been quicker.

“I need to do some more driving to know the car more and see, ‘OK, this is working in this condition…’ I just came back from Rally2, then the [pre-event] test with Rally1, then the rally. I think it works well, I don’t think we could have done better.”

Nothing’s changed? Fourmaux, like his peers at sport’s elite level, was impatient. He still is. He wants to be in the car. He wants to be driving.

“I was lucky,” he said. “I did two days of test before Monte – in the past the guys were driving all the time. For sure, young drivers today, we miss some test days [because of the strict testing regulations]. Before Sweden I need to find a feeling with the car on snow, that’s the main thing. For the other rallies, I have some areas I would like to improve.”


Fourmaux balanced soaring speed with consistency in 2023 WRC2 campaign

In terms of the Puma’s performance, Fourmaux’s no different to any other driver: he’d like to go a bit faster.

“The top end [of the engine] is good,” he said. “But maybe in the mid-range, where you use the torque, we could find some more driveability.

“For me, Monte was positive. Really positive.”

Millener’s of a similar mind.


M-Sport's young charger is giving his bosses more to smile about

“I’m really pleased with what he achieved in Monte Carlo,” he said. “I think we need to concentrate on Adrien getting strong, consistent results for now and our performance as the car is will allow him to do this.

“Hopefully our development work [with the car] will coincide with him getting more experience and the results can get even stronger as the year progresses. There are no short-term changes planned for the car – we feel we can be competitive with the package we have now.”

There can be no arguments about that. The Puma’s a rally winner, Fourmaux’s not. Yet.

And impatient is good, it was the impetuous that tripped him up last time.