Opinion: French rally talent set to fight for British M-Sport Car News

Soon after a French rally driver makes his debut at M-Sport, another is expected to follow. They have nothing in common other than backing energy drink giant Red Bull, but the two could be just as important in shaping the future of the legendary British squad.

In Croatia, recently, Adrien Fourmaux went wild in a Ford Fiesta WRC M-Sport for his racing debut. The 25-year-old is a rising star in the WRC2 class, one step below the top WRC class.

He has a neat, polished style with almost surgical precision – and that’s not surprising, since he’s a former medical student. He gave up surgery to focus on rallying, but the analytical dissection skills he learned come in handy when it comes to perfect performance under pressure.

And that pressure is undoubtedly there, because this year, Fourmaux has only become the third Frenchman to be supported by Red Bull in world rallying, after Sébastien Loeb and Sébastien Ogier – two men who have set a precedent.

What’s even more surprising is that Loeb himself could also make his M-Sport debut – maybe even as early as this year. The nine-time champion has been associated with a role in helping the outfit develop its all-new hybrid car, as the WRC undertakes a radical rule change for the 2022 season. All Loeb will say about it is’ never say never”.

He won’t be ready for a full season, but his testing ability is second to none and it wouldn’t take much to persuade the 47-year-old to leave retirement for a final tango at the rallies he loves most. After all, Björn Waldegård remains the oldest winner of a WRC event, having won the 1990 Safari at the age of 46. This is one of the few records that Loeb has yet to break.

With M-Sport being one of the teams that responds the best historically to rule changes, it’s not such a fancy concept. Loeb was already 44 when he claimed his 79th and final WRC victory in Spain for Citroën in 2018. Eighty would be a much rounder number.

However, it wouldn’t exactly be M-Sport’s debut if Loeb signed. He secretly tested a Ford Focus WRC in 2005 and almost joined the team for 2006.

More recently, M-Sport has seen huge success with Ogier, and now Fourmaux has joined the WRC family.

M-Sport’s base at Cockermouth isn’t quite in Scotland (the border is about 30 miles north), but there is definitely an Auld Alliance between Ford and its French drivers, which dates back to the time. by François Delecour. In the best possible way, maybe we could see a story repeat itself.

Anthony peacock


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This notice was published: 2021-04-29 23:01:23