WRC ORLEN 80th Rally Poland
Starts: Thursday, June 27, 2024 at 8:00:00 AM
ERC Bauhaus Royal Rally of Scandinavia
Starts: Thursday, June 13, 2024 at 12:00:00 PM
Ferratum World RX of Sweden 1
Starts: Saturday, July 6, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM

Fri 16 Sep 2022

Millener: We were not alone with our problems

M-Sport Ford team principal Rich Millener is focusing on the positives from EKO Acropolis Rally Greece following a challenging summer period.

Millener’s M-Sport squad found itself in a position of dominance after Friday’s action to the south of the rally’s Lamia base, with Sébastien Loeb and Pierre-Louis Loubet both holding out a Puma 1-2. 

However, things began to unravel over the course of just one hour on Saturday morning when Loeb was forced to retire with alternator failure on the road section after the opening stage and Loubet picked up a puncture early on the next test. 

It effectively dashed the team’s chances of a podium, with Loeb not restarting and Loubet dropping back to seventh. The latter eventually fought his way back up to fourth, one position ahead of team-mate Craig Breen who suffered a similar issue to Loubet on Friday.

A silver lining came on Sunday’s Wolf Power Stage when Breen and Gus Greensmith posted third and fourth-fastest times to further boost the team’s points return.

“We were not the only manufacturer to have problems,” insisted Millener. “Toyota had a really bad weekend and Hyundai definitely had their fair share of problems but were able to keep their cars reliable.

“I think what we achieved on Friday is exactly what we want to show. A full day and showing the car is good enough and the team is good enough. On the long stage on Saturday morning, we were on par with [Ott] Tänak.

“[It was] a completely small, very easy to fix issue, but we saw Séb retire which is really the biggest disappointment. But I think we can come away from here positive on a number of things and we still have some opportunities this year to improve on that.”

The next opportunity M-Sport has to show that improvement is at Repco Rally New Zealand, which returns to the WRC calendar for the first time since 2012. The event is based in Auckland and runs from 29 September - 2 October.