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

Tue 20 Feb 2024

Millener: I will be there for Adrien’s first win

Not at Rally Sweden to celebrate Adrien Fourmaux’s maiden podium finish, M-Sport Ford Team Principal Rich Millener has promised the Frenchman to be present for his first win.

Millener was absent from the second round of the FIA World Rally Championship last weekend as he awaits the birth of his second child but was watching on proudly from the north of England as Fourmaux produced his best-ever result, completing the Umeå-based event in third overall.

Speaking to the 28-year-old on Sunday following his podium finish, Millener promised to be present for the next major milestone Fourmaux is now aiming for.

“It was a real shame I could not be there for his podium after all these years, but we had a chat about it and we will make sure I will be there for the first win,” grinned Millener.

“We are very happy with what Adrien achieved,” he enthused, acknowledging that a top-three finish for Fourmaux had been in the works for some time. “I think back to when we first put Adrien into a Rally1 car (in 2021) – we knew the potential. We knew at the time that he probably wasn’t ready for the step-up but we thought we would give him that opportunity.

“Obviously, we then had a tough season (in 2022) and we put him back in Rally2. It gave him some more fight and determination and as a person, he has massively improved mentally. I think that showed at the weekend.”

Beginning Sunday 16.7sec ahead of Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Elfyn Evans, Fourmaux delivered a measured approach to the remaining three stages of the rally, relinquishing his second spot to Evans as he focused solely on bringing his Puma home still within a podium position.

It was clear that last year’s Rally Italia-Sardegna, when Fourmaux crashed out of the WRC2 lead on the rally-ending Wolf Power Stage, was playing on the mind of the M-Sport Ford driver.

“I think this will relieve the pressure because after what happened in Sardinia on the final stage, this day was going to be tricky for him and he didn’t want to make any mistakes. But he drove superbly and scored a brilliant podium,” opined Millener.

“I don’t think I am surprised by what I saw, I am just relieved that he got this notch on the belt essentially.”

The 29 points Fourmaux has netted from the opening two rounds of 2024 is more than double what he scored in total in 2022 and is good enough to place him third overall in the Drivers’ championship standings. He is currently ahead of Ott Tänak, the man he has essentially replaced in M-Sport Ford’s Rally1 programme this year.

“If he can keep his head in the same position, we have a really good chance to keep pushing and fighting in the championship,” Millener hinted.

“Third overall [in the Drivers’ standings] after two rallies is quite incredible really and just goes to show that what we discussed pre-season about consistently finishing every rally and using your head will pay off."