M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm scored a fourth-place finish at this weekend’s ACI Rally Monza in their EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC, their best result of the season. Lappi led the rally through the early stages and challenged for the win in the final action-packed event of the year.
Unfortunately, a few risky moves and the wrong tires caused the team to fall back toward the end of the race and ultimately land in fourth-place. The team had the right tires on hand for the snow-covered mountain stages, but the wrong compound for the morning opener, which ultimately denied them a podium finish.
In the WRC 2 category, Adrien Fourmaux and Renaud Jamoul were also on pace to secure a victory, claiming seven out of a possible 14 stage wins with the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta Rally2. The pair had secured a commanding lead, but a puncture followed by a spin that damaged the suspension saw them fall to fourth place.
On the final day of ACI Rally Monza, Fourmaux was back on pace and set the sixth-fastest time overall on the opening stage, bettering the efforts of numerous world rally cars.
“We had the pace to win the rally and the WRC 2 class this weekend, so there is an element of disappointment, but we can still take a lot of confidence away from this performance and everyone can be really proud of what we’ve achieved over the last two rallies especially,” said Team Principal Richard Millener. “It’s no secret that this has been a tough year for M-Sport and we’re not in the same position as the other teams, so to lead two rallies on the bounce is pretty impressive.”
“This was a good weekend for us and we can be pleased with our performance,” Lappi said. “It was good to be back on tarmac and good to see that we can be competitive in these tricky conditions. Things didn’t always go our way and we were quite unlucky at times, but I was very happy with my driving and we proved that we can be up there fighting at the top.”
“I think it was a good rally for us,” added Fourmaux. “Of course we are a little disappointed about yesterday’s mistake as we had the performance to win here this weekend, but we had a good pace and showed many things for the future. On the whole, it was a very good season. We learned a lot and were strong on all of the rallies, which was very good. I also want to say a big thanks to the team for all of their support and hard work, and I hope I can be back working with them again next year.”