Why M-Sport is confident it can keep Fourmaux

Regular podium finishes likely to increase demand for Frenchman in WRC driver market


When a driver performs as well as Adrien Fourmaux has this World Rally Championship season, inevitably their future will be pondered.

Particularly if they are driving for M-Sport Ford which, despite the team’s best efforts, cannot match the resource of fully fledged manufacturer rivals Toyota and Hyundai.

M-Sport team principal Richard Millener is aware of this, commenting he’s “sure” Fourmaux is a “man in demand”, but he’s equally confident Fourmaux won’t see any reason to leave the British outfit.

Since bursting onto the world championship scene with a WRC2 podium and an overall points-scoring finish back at the 2019 Monte Carlo Rally, Fourmaux’s rallying career has been intertwined with Ford.

The Frenchman has never driven another brand of car in the WRC. And ever since he was promoted to represent M-Sport in WRC2 from 2020, nor has he competed for another team either.


Fourmaux has been part of M-Sport team since 2020 Monte Carlo Rally

Even after that tricky debut full season at the top level in 2022, M-Sport stuck with Fourmaux and used him to develop the Fiesta Rally2 while, in turn, rebuilding his confidence. That faith has now been spectacularly repaid with Fourmaux netting three podiums from seven starts thus far in 2024 – one better than Ott Tänak managed in the same time period last year.

It all points to Fourmaux being an obvious candidate for Toyota or Hyundai should either be presented with an opening in its lineup, but even if that situation arises Millener has confidence M-Sport can keep its star driver.

“I’m sure he’s a man in demand already and our number one goal is to ensure that Adrien doesn’t leave the team because he’s an incredible talent and I think he doesn’t want to,” Millener told DirtFish.

“He’s very happy with the team; he’s got a lot of respect for Malcolm [Wilson]; he’s got the team working for him. He’s built this team around him now and that’s where you get the most success.

“I think he enjoys being with us and at this stage in his career he enjoys the fight of being more of an underdog against the others. He knows that if he goes to any other teams he’s got world champions to deal with and in M-Sport he can get what he wants.


Millener enjoys his working relationship with Fourmaux

“Anything he needs will come to him. We treat the drivers fairly but he will get what he needs to do the job, and he’s clever enough to know that he shouldn’t underestimate that.”

Both team and driver are gelling extremely well together too, which Millener believes is key.

“He’s French, but we’ve certainly got him to the English humor levels and dryness, so he’s pretty good,” he said. “But he’s competitive, he’s hard on us when he needs to be, but he’s good with us when he needs to be as well so it’s always a pleasure working with him.

“And I have to say I’m really, really enjoying this year so far, working with him and the whole team actually.”

Fourmaux getting more confident with each rally

Fourmaux has achieved a number milestones this season already – that first podium in Sweden a key one, but he also topped his first powerstage in Croatia.

Although his results this season haven’t followed a linear path of progression (retirement in Sardinia being the obvious outlier), after his podium in Poland – which Millener labeled Fourmaux’s “best result to date” – Fourmaux said he feels he is getting more confident as a driver with each passing event.


Poland podium was Fourmuax's third of the season

“I’m doing more and more rallies, and in each case I understand more the cars and how I need to drive it to get it faster,” he told DirtFish. “And also, every rally gives me more confidence to push a bit more, a bit more.

“This is the step I have every time, every rally. That was my goal in the beginning of the year, and it seems to be really working.

“It’s really a shame what happened in Sardinia, because I think for the championship we will be much closer. But it’s really positive. There are two rallies coming, two fast rallies. We are there. We are improving the pace. It gives me also the confidence that I’m capable on those rallies.”

Asked where he could improve for the future, Fourmaux pointed to the second-pass conditions on roads like Poland where the stages got really rutted.

He explained: “I think on this rally, there was definitely the second pass. Unfortunately, we had the test on a really compact ground and there was no cut-up road, etc, on the second pass, or I was too low, or sometimes too high, or just the setup is not correct for the second pass.

“So every time there is things to improve, especially second pass. First pass, I’m quite happy, it’s more second pass. There is also things we need to improve on the car to be a bit more competitive. We know the areas and we are working on it with the team. So it’s coming and I hope we can at least be closer again.”