Tuesday | 30 Nov 2021

Loeb at wheel as Puma progress continues

M-Sport Ford is closing on its final Puma WRC Rally1 hybrid specification following another comprehensive test last week.

The British-based team enjoyed a troublefree test with the Puma in the French Alps, where Craig Breen, Gus Greensmith Sébastien Loeb and Adrien Fourmaux drove the new-era car.

While Breen and Greensmith have already been confirmed in M-Sport’s 2022 line-up, there has been no confirmation yet about Fourmaux’s future and what role, if any, Loeb will play in M-Sport Ford’s competitive season.

The squad will make one more test next month before returning to the French mountains to nail down a pre-event test for the January 20 - 23 FIA World Rally Championship opener.

Team principal Richard Millener told WRC.com: “We had a good week. I’m not going to talk about individuals who were in the car, but it’s fair to say we made very good progress across all of the drivers.

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“It was interesting for some of the guys who had been in the current [Fiesta WRC] car in Monza the week before – that offered them the chance to really feel how the two cars were working and the feedback on the Puma was very, very positive.

“I’m happy with where we are right now. The team is really coming together so well as we look ahead to 2022. It’s been quite a long 2021 for us, but it’s always a pleasure to work with a car (the Fiesta WRC) which brought us so much success. But now it’s time for the future.”

All three WRC manufacturers tested last week, with Hyundai Motorsport running close to its Alzenau base in Germany.

Toyota joined M-Sport in the Alps, but Sébastien Ogier’s hopes of a first run in the all-new GR Yaris WRC Rally1 were cut short when team-mate Elfyn Evans crashed.

The Jyväskylä-based team elected to halt the test rather than try to fix the car on site. Toyota will be back out – with Ogier expected to take two days – next month.

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