FoMoCo teased a prototype version of the Ford Puma Rally1 – the successor to the outgoing Ford Fiesta WRC – on numerous occasions before revealing its all-new rally weapon earlier this month with M-Sport Ford WRC driver Adrien Fourmaux behind the wheel. Recently, fellow driver Sebastien Loeb also got his chance to drive the new hybrid racer, which is reportedly “quite a lot faster” than the outgoing Fiesta WRC. Now, we have more positive news to share about Ford’s first-ever hybrid rally car, as M-Sport team leader Craig Breen, who has been involved in testing the Ford Puma Rally1, shared his thoughts on that process.
“I feel very comfortable with the car, it feels natural to me and that can only be a good thing moving forward to next season,” Breen told WRC in an interview. “A while ago I felt stepping away from the last couple of rounds in a World Rally Car could benefit me in terms of getting used to the new [Rally1] car and I honestly feel like that’s the way it’s worked out.”
Breen last competed in a WRC event back in October, when he was behind the wheel of a Hyundai i20 at the Secto Automotive Rally in Finland. One week later, the Irishman signed a two-year deal with M-Sport and has been testing the new Puma Rally1 ever since in a variety of conditions including snow.
“It was really useful to get out there and work with the geometry and the differential set-up,” Breen said. “We were really just scanning through all of the [set-up] options we have. It’s gone well. It was great to get the car into the snow and see how it felt. Looking back now, I’m really, really pleased with the way the testing has gone since [September]. I feel really at home with the team and the car now, and now we’re just ready to get going on this thing. I can’t wait for Monte Carlo and the start of the season.”
Breen and his fellow M-Sport teammates Adrien Fourmaux, Gus Greensmith, and Sebastien Loeb will get their first official crack in the Puma Rally1 at Rally Monte Carlo, which takes place January 20th-23rd.