Thu 12 Oct 2023

Back to square one for Puma rookie Munster

Grégoire Munster will need to re-learn everything about M-Sport Ford’s Puma Rally1 when he makes his asphalt debut in the car at Central European Rally later this month (26 - 29 October).

Munster had the opportunity to drive Rally Chile Bio Bío behind the wheel of a Puma owned and loaned by friend and supporter Jourdan Serderidis earlier this month, with the gravel round marking his first foray into top-line WRC competition. 

The 24-year-old showed impressive speed considering his lack of experience at Rally1 level but a number of issues, including co-driver Louis Louka forgetting his pace notes on day one and a double puncture on day two, prevented him from finishing inside the top 10.  Published last Friday, the entry list for Central European Rally was confirmation of Munster’s second Puma outing.

The inaugural edition of the tri-country fixture takes place entirely on asphalt and will mark another steep learning curve for the Luxembourger.

“We did not test the car on Tarmac yet, so it will be difficult to say what we can expect, or how the car will behave,” he revealed. “I think we just have to test and see how it goes. 

“I think we are a bit more Tarmac specialists. We have been driving a lot in Germany and we did the Jännerrallye in Austria and Barum Rally in the Czech Republic. I guess we will be more comfortable on Tarmac, but now it’s also the point of how the car behaves.”

Asked to describe the sensations when stepping up from Rally2 to Rally1 machinery, Munster said: “First of all, you have the hybrid, which is difficult to get to know when to use it, and how much you can apply without losing too much traction. You have to compromise, and it takes a bit of time to get used to it. 

“Then, you also have the aero,” he continued. “I would say the faster you go in these short corners, the more you can use it - but sometimes you don’t have the grip into the corner, so it depends if the tyres will also hold on and accept all the grip that you have. That’s also a tricky part.”

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