M-Sport Ford team principal Richard Millener says talk of a Sébastien Loeb return to the squad is wide of the mark and not where the focus lies in 2024.
Loeb, who won the Monte Carlo Rally with the British squad in 2022, had been linked to a possible Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid outing in Portugal, but Millener poured cold water on the speculation.
“Don’t get me wrong,” Millener told DirtFish, “working with a nine-time world champion is always something we’d be happy to do, but we have no plans for this at all. We’ve set our stall out for this season and the program is based very much around Adrien [Fourmaux] and Grégoire [Munster].”
M-Sport will run two factory Pumas through this year, with the only change to that plan coming if a customer wants to run a car alongside.
“We’re taking a very focused approach with what we have this year,” said Millener. “We know where we are with budgets and what we’ve got to work with and it’s vital that we’re running the team as efficiently as possible. The resource we have is being invested into the team, the car and the crews – we saw that this approach could really pay dividends with the Fiesta Rally2 last season and we’re looking for the same result in Rally1 this season.
“I was very impressed with what I saw from both our guys in Monte. Adrien absolutely stuck to the plan and delivered consistent pace. By and large, it’s the same story for Grégoire. To come out of the season-opener as we did was pleasing and something for the team to build on.
“We know Sweden’s a fairly specific event again and our expectations are in-line with that, but as we progress into the season and onto the gravel, I honestly think we can start to look towards some strong results.”