M-Sport stands by heartbroken Fourmaux

Fourmaux crashed while leading on Sardinia's powerstage

Adrien Fourmaux

M-Sport Ford team principal Richard Millener promised to stand by Adrien Fourmaux after he crashed from the lead of WRC2 on the final stage of Rally Italy Sardinia.

Fourmaux joined the M-Sport fold in 2020 as a driver of its Fiesta Rally2, before he progressed into the main World Rally Championship team in 2021 – initially sharing a Fiesta WRC with Teemu Suninen before Suninen fled to Hyundai.

But a difficult season aboard a Puma Rally1 last year, punctuated by accidents and mistakes, meant Fourmaux was dropped back to WRC2 for 2023.

The Frenchman has played a pivotal role in developing M-Sport’s Rally2 car, and since round three in México has been bang on the pace in WRC2 – as well as dominating both the opening two rounds of the British Rally Championship.

Fourmaux built a handsome lead for himself in Sardinia last weekend – the hard work done on the first pass of Saturday’s  Erula – Tula stage where he took over 20 seconds from his nearest rival Andreas Mikkelsen.

He then just had to protect his advantage and held a 31s lead heading onto the powerstage, but filthy conditions on the final test would ultimately catch him out as he ran wide and fell off the road, damaging both the front and rear-right suspension on his Fiesta.

Fourmaux had been on course for his first ever WRC2 win and M-Sport’s first in the category since the end of 2021.

It typified a difficult weekend for the entire team as Ott Tänak retired with an electrical problem after a water crossing on Saturday, while Pierre-Louis Loubet was forced out for the entire weekend with mechanical trouble on Friday.

Millener said it’s Fourmaux’s performance, not result, that should be remembered from the weekend as he promised to “stand by” his driver.

“Adrien drove a fantastic rally, he pushed where needed, and was controlled for the rest of the rally – through what can only be described as crazy conditions,” Millener said.

“The result was not what he deserved, but we will stand by him, in rally there are always difficult times, but his speed and showing of talent this weekend is what we should remember.”

Fourmaux said he was “heartbroken” by his mistake.

“I’m really heartbroken for all the team who were hoping for this result. We were really close, and I’m very disappointed it ended like this.

“I have been so comfortable in the car all weekend and we were happy to be fighting at the front. I was happy with how we managed the car, but heavy rain in the powerstage changed everything for us.

“The car feels really good and we have everything working well. It’s a shame but we have to look forward now.”

Fourmaux will skip the next round of the WRC as he instead competes on the Ypres Rally, round three of the British series, on the same weekend.

He now has little hope of fighting for the WRC2 title as he’s currently 42 points down on compatriot Yohan Rossel, and has competed on five events compared to Rossel’s four.