Wednesday | 20 Jan 2021

Millener backs Fiesta duo ahead of unpredictable opener

M-Sport Ford team principal Richard Millener believes this week’s season-opening fixture at Rallye Monte-Carlo offers the chance for Teemu Suninen and Gus Greensmith to shock the favourites.

Aware that the changeable conditions likely in the French Alps this weekend offer a window of opportunity, he’s keen to see Suninen and Greensmith put early points on the board.

“Without doubt, this is one of the most unpredictable events on the calendar. The result is as hard to foresee as the conditions, and it’s a rally where a driver can really take a chance to show what they are capable of,” Millener explained.

“Gus and Teemu will both be up for doing that and a troublefree run could well see them spring a few surprises. Gus has won [WRC2 Pro] here in the past and Teemu has something of a point to prove in Monte with good speed on asphalt.”

With just six weeks between the end of the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship season and the start of this year, Millener admits it’s been a busy time at M-Sport’s British base.

MEMORABLE MOMENTS: RALLYE MONTE-CARLO

“It has been fairly hectic,” he said, “but we’re ready and we’re excited about the year ahead. It’s always an exciting time of the year and this is no different. This is the Monte and anything can happen.”

Millener waved away concerns about Greensmith sliding off the road at his pre-event test last week.

“That’s why we go testing. It’s not important. OK, it’s frustrating that he lost an hour, it would have been good for him to be in the car and driving, but he doesn’t need to beat himself up about this. The conditions, as you could see from the onboard, were a bit of a nightmare. It happens.

“The good thing is that he got back out in the car and was running well. We wanted him to get some experience of the new tyres and he’s done that, so now we’re looking ahead to next week.

“The Monte Carlo Rally is always one of the toughest and most complicated events of the season and, with the weather we’re looking at, this year’s going to be no different,” Millener added.

· Full coverage from Rallye Monte-Carlo will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.