M-Sport Ford looks at the positives from Safari Rally

The team principal of M-Sport Ford, Richard Millener, says that his team will keep the positive things from Safari Rally and believes that this event was a great chance for them to learn more things about these new cars.

The two top M-Sport drivers for Safari Rally were Craig Breen and Sebastien Loeb as they finished sixth and eighth overall respectively.

The British team faced many problems throughout last weekend, especially on Friday and on Saturday, while three of its drivers managed to score bonus points in Powerstage.

More specifically, Adrien Fourmaux pulled over 10 Kilometers into Stage 5 with a mechanical issue and the engine of Puma did not sound healthy, but eventually he retired for the rest of Friday on the road section after SS5. An issue with the propshaft or the rear differential led him to retire despite the fact that he managed to get to the finish line of SS5 dropping more than four minutes there.

Moreover, Craig Breen had a brief stop in Stage 7 and went off the road 18,1 Kilometers into the stage as the steering was damaged while he reported a small issue in Stage 12 resulting in dropping more than one minute there. In addition to that, he had a suspension related issue on Sunday and felt like he had a rear right puncture.

On the other hand, Sebastien Loeb did a mistake in Stage 2 as he touched a tree resulting in having a light damage to the rear left while he was forced to retire after Stage 4 due to the fact that the engine bay of his car caught fire which was caused by an O-ring leak. 

Finally, Gus Greensmith finished outside the top ten as he retired on the road section after Stage 9 as his Puma was heavily damaged following his crash in Stage 8.

"We knew going in that this rally would be a challenge, perhaps the biggest of the season in terms of ultimate durability", Millener said.

"The conditions exceeded our expectations, especially the fesh fesh, which was effectively a lottery and perhaps a bit over the limit of what these new Rally1 cars can handle. 

"Despite this, we have to look at the positives. 

"These are new cars and we learned some very valuable lessons. 

"The ultimate pace of the Puma was there, with both Seb and Adrien taking stage wins as well as having three cars claiming powerstage points. 

"It is the first time we have had three cars in the powerstage points this season which is a very valuable step in the right direction. 

"It’s a very difficult feeling to work so hard building up to an event and coming away with little to show in terms of results. 

"We have a testing programme coming up next ahead of Estonia as well as a short turnaround at Dovenby so we are going to be flat out again, but keeping our heads high and looking forward to Estonia".

Photo Credits: M-Sport

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