Millener says Fourmaux made error with tire gamble

A crash on stage three was in part caused by choosing too many soft tires, says M-Sport boss


M-Sport team principal Richard Millener believes Adrien Fourmaux’s SS3 crash on Monza Rally was “another lesson learned,” suggesting that Fourmaux took a tire gamble that wasn’t worth it.

Fourmaux chose four soft and two hard compound Pirellis for the opening four stages of the World Rally Championship finale, while all of his rivals went for a predominantly hard compound package.

He hinted at the end of the first stage that he wasn’t sure if his tire choice was the right one, and he duly bolted two hards onto his Ford Fiesta WRC at regroup for the repeat pass of the stages.

However Fourmaux, who had been sixth overall and leading M-Sport’s charge, crashed near the end of the third stage, squirreling under braking for a left-hander, hitting a bank with the right of his car and rolling over; his Fiesta coming to rest with the front wheels wedged on an Armco barrier.

Asked to describe Fourmaux’s accident, Millener said the tires were a major factor in the incident.


“You’ve seen he took a different tire choice to a lot of people this morning, that was his decision to try with a softer option, which he commented didn’t work as well.

“So on that stage he went for the crossed option with the hard and the soft and when I spoke to him on the messenger afterwards he said he was really struggling with that, and then just lost his control on a slippy corner, hit the bank on the outside and unfortunately then rolled over the top of the Armco.

“It’s frustrating for him, for us – I don’t think that’s how he wanted to end his final event of the season but another lesson learned I think.”

When it was put to him that given M-Sport and Fourmaux’s position in the championship that a tire gamble was worth taking, Millener replied: “It is but I think… I’m not sure when it’s these conditions when it’s quite stable in some ways that taking such a risk works that often.

“When you look at everyone else on a predominantly hard package, then that tells you.

Millener M-Sport Sweden
If it had worked I’m sure we’d have all turned round and said ‘that was amazing’ Richard Millener, M-Sport team principal

“There’s a lot of experience there if you add up all the years of experience over there. So yeah it was a lesson for Adrien to learn and something to work on.

“If it had worked I’m sure we’d have all turned round and said ‘that was amazing’ but I said I think the reality is when you have everyone else on that tire, and the fact it was four stages without coming back here, it’s due to dry up a little bit then, then it was a bit of a gamble.

“Unfortunately it has led to what’s happened. We’ll just have to learn from it and build on it for next year.”

Fourmaux has not been confirmed as an M-Sport driver for 2022 but is understood to be remaining with the team to drive a Ford Puma Rally1 next year.

Team-mate Gus Greensmith was officially announced on Thursday as an M-Sport driver next season alongside Craig Breen. Sébastien Loeb also remains a likely option for the team, albeit for a part-time program.