M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s three EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRCs all encountered challenges at Rallye Monte-Carlo, but Teemu Suninen and Pontus Tidemand completed the notoriously difficult event to gain good experience for the future.
Despite their issues, both youngsters showed flashes of speed that bodes well for the future – a brave tyre choice rewarding Suninen with the fourth fastest time on SS7 whilst Tidemand was the fastest man through a number of split sections.
Suninen also secured a championship point for the fifth fastest time through the Power Stage – bettering that of both Sebastien Loeb and Jari-Matti Latvala who were pushing for position – and the team will take their potential forward to next month’s Rally Sweden.
Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:
“This isn’t the rally we wanted, but we need to look to the positives and come back stronger in Sweden. We know that we have a competitive car and that we were capable of more – all three crews showing their potential with some competitive stage and split times. Elfyn [Evans] had the pace to go for a strong result, and Teemu and Pontus both made a lot of progress and got some good experience under the belts – something that is vital to doing well at this notoriously difficult event.”
Our preparations for @RallySweden are well underway ?? Images courtesy of https://t.co/bbyPzePEWH ? #WRC #FordPerformance pic.twitter.com/ffJcmrvBCX
— M-Sport (@MSportLtd) January 31, 2019
Teemu Suninen said:
“It’s a shame that we went off on the first stage because the rest of the rally has been really good. But we got a lot of good experience and I had some pace on the snow sections. The more we learnt, the more we were able to build our pace and I was happy to get a Power Stage point – beating Latvala and Loeb who were both fighting for position.”
Did today my @RallySweden prep in Eastern Finland. Clocked well over 200kms – a busy day that hopefully pays off later in February. pic.twitter.com/X9MUU4a47T
— Teemu Suninen Racing (@TeemuSuninenRac) January 30, 2019
Pontus Tidemand said:
“This car is amazing to drive and I have had a lot of fun. I’ve learnt a lot and need to thank the team and my route note crew for a really good job. We’ll analyse where we were good and where we weren’t quite so good. On the slippery sections we set some really fast splits, but on the dry Tarmac we weren’t on the pace and I need more time behind the wheel to use the full potential of the car. But it was good to get the kilometres and the experience. And we’ll have a good test before Rally Sweden where I hope to show another improvement.”
The feeling of finishing your first Rallye Monte-Carlo in a #WRC car ??☺️ The only way from here is up! ☝? pic.twitter.com/wfi20kblcE
— Pontus Tidemand (@PontusTidemand) January 28, 2019