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Tue 17 Jan 2023

Determined Fourmaux leads WRC2 field into Monte-Carlo opener

Adrien Fourmaux tops a talent-packed WRC2 entry for the opening round of the FIA World Rally Championship this week at Rallye Monte-Carlo (19 – 22 January).

Twenty-seven hopeful crews will fight for the WRC2 category spoils in the mountains above Monaco, kicking off on Thursday evening with a pair of night-time blasts centred around the atmospheric Col de Turini in the Alpes-Maritimes. Andreas Mikkelsen, victor of the past two editions, is absent – meaning a new winner will be crowned.

If anybody has a point to prove, it’s Fourmaux.

Having sampled the highs of a Rally1 drive with M-Sport Ford last season, a series of retirements have seen the 27-year-old demoted to the British squad’s WRC2 line-up this year alongside team newcomer Grégoire Munster.

Fourmaux suffered a heavy crash on this event in 2022, but the year before that – when he was driving a Fiesta Rally2 similar to the one he’ll pilot this week – he finished second in class.

“Rallye Monte Carlo is, of course, the most famous in the championship, and it’s always a fantastic way to start the season,” he said.

“It’s one of the most difficult rallies of the season, with tricky and changing road conditions, and we should have the full effect with some snow and ice conditions too. I’m looking forward to getting back out in a Rally2 car and seeing what we can achieve.”

Fourmaux isn’t the only former Rally1 driver on the entry list, with Hyundai exile Oliver Solberg also set to feature with a brand-new Škoda Fabia RS Rally2. Solberg, however, has not registered to score championship points and will treat the rally as an extended test session.  

Yohan Rossel finished fourth overall in his debut WRC2 season and will be hoping to improve on that as he embarks on another full campaign. He, along with Stéphane Lefebvre and Alejandro Cachón, fields a Citroën C3 Rally2.

Two cars will be eligible to score points for reigning WRC2 teams’ champions Toksport WRT. The German-based outfit has handed that task to Nikolay Gryazin and Marco Bulacia in a pair of new Fabias. It will also run a car for young Finn Sami Pajari who, like Solberg, has opted not to count this as a scoring round.

Also driving a Toksport-prepared Škoda is François Delecour, who makes a guest appearance 29 years after he won the Monaco-based fixture in 1994. Erik Cais, runner-up here last year, drives a similar steed.

Other entrants include Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy duo William Creighton and Josh McErlean in a pair of Hyundai i20 N Rally2s as well as Chris Ingram and Johannes Keferböck - both of whom drive Fabia Rally2 Evos.

  • 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.