- After the inaugural victory of the Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1 of around 368 kW (500 hp) at the Monte Carlo Rally, the Mediterranean island is set to follow with another score.
- M-Sport Ford sends four Pumas to the start of the fifth round of the World Championship for drivers Craig Breen, Gus Greensmith, Adrien Fourmaux and Pierre-Louis Loubet
- Particularly high outdoor temperatures and tests of fine-surfaced gravel and hard subsoil put steering wheel tumblers to the test.
Rally between: M-Sport Ford had just over a week to prepare for the upcoming gravel challenge in Sardinia after the World Championships Tour in Portugal. The event on the second largest Mediterranean island has a special reputation for its hot summer temperatures and harsh track conditions. Because the narrow natural trails are covered in a thick layer of dust, it can become very slippery on cobbled trails, especially for early rally vehicles. Beneath the soft surface there is also a hard earth soil that appears to light at the latest in the second passage above the special phases (WP). Next, the powerful 368 kW (500 hp) Puma Hybrid Rally1 from the M-Sport Ford has to battle deep ruts and avoid big stones to avoid tire damage.
This surrounding team gives M-Sport boss Richard Milner two opposing strategic options: aim for a comfortable lead with a full attack from the start, but also risk early retirement, or adapt to track conditions and mistakes made by opponents to hope. In fact, Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1 drivers will choose a combination of both tactics and consider carefully where a subtle saving of materials makes more sense than hitting the throttle mercilessly.
M-Sport is sending four prototypes of its new hybrid rally cars based on the Ford Puma model to the start in Sardinia. The Irish quartet is led by Craig Breen and compatriot Paul Nagley in the passenger seat. There is also England’s Gus Greensmith and his Swedish assistant Jonas Anderson as well as the purely French duo Adrien Formeau / Alexandre Correa and Pierre-Louis Loubet / Vincent Landis. The company’s all-wheel drive vehicles have a 1.6-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 279 kW (380 hp). The petrol engine is supported by a hybrid system that temporarily contributes up to 100 kW (136 hp). In addition, all RC1 racing cars are filled with CO2 neutral fuel. In this way, they keep their ecological footprint as small as possible.
The Sardinia Rally in Italy will start next Thursday evening at 18:08 with a spectator stage of 3.53 km in Olbia. The fourth largest city on the Mediterranean island is located in the northeast of the island near the Costa Smeralda. Next, the World Championship Tour will move to the West Coast, to the rally center in Alghero. Eight other special stages await M-Sport Ford’s Puma Hybrid Armada on Friday and Saturday, including the spectacular “Micky’s Jump” on the stage of “Monte Lerno.” Sunday tops four other special stages including “Sassari-Argentera 2”. The rally concludes from 12:18pm and serves as a “power stage” where the five fastest can score up to five additional World Championship points.
“In order to get the Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1 ready in time for the Sardinia Italia, we had to do a very scheduled effort – but the team did a unique job,” explains M-Sport Team Principal Richard Milner. “In Portugal haben wir eine außerordentlich harte Veranstaltung erlebt, aber der bevorstehende WM-Lauf könnte noch herausfordernder werden. Bei den bisherigen Rallyes konnten wir klar sehen, dass unserkur Autonicur absolut fär sching särneg sr neg sr neg ir schirne g Unsere Fahrer fühlen sich am Steuer des Puma Hybrid Rally1 wohl, ihr Vertrauen in den Wagen steigt. Add.”
Craig Brin/Paul Nagel (Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1, Car #42); world championship rank: 6; Sardinia Rally starts: 3rd best result: 6th place (2018)
“I’m really looking forward to the Sardinia Rally even though it’s only been a few days since our last appearance in Portugal,” said 32-year-old Craig Brin. “But we were able to learn a lot about Porto and draw our conclusions from that. Now we have to implement that. We will start Rally Italy on Friday stage from a more advantageous position, so we have to make the most of that as we can. I haven’t been to this event for a long time but the special stages are A mixture of old and new. I liked what I saw on the footage on the plane. I think the special stages should suit us. We will attack as hard as it makes sense, because we really want to improve our position in the World Rally Championship.”
Gus Greensmith/Jonas Anderson (Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1, Car #44); World Cup Ranking: 8; Sardinia Rally starts: 3rd best result: 25th place (2020)
“The gap between Portugal and Sardinia is very short and I think that’s a good thing,” said 25-year-old Jose Greensmith. “The track characteristics are very similar, even if it is tougher in Italy and there are also very high temperatures outside and the cockpit. We found a great setup for the Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1, which should also run without our own test in Sardinia. We want to get a good result And get as many championship points as possible.
Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1, car #16); World Cup Ranking: 20; Sardinia Rally starts: 3rd best result: 30 (2021, 6 in WRC2)
“I’m very happy to be back in Sardinia because it’s my fourth time racing there, although I’ve always been in an RC2 – so this year we have a special challenge,” said Adrien Fourmaux (27). “We can build on the experience we had last time in Portugal and I felt very comfortable there in the Puma Hybrid Rally 1. Hopefully we can get a better result and some world championship points.”
Perre-Louis Loubet/Vincent Landais (Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1, Vehicle #7); world championship rank: 15; Sardinia Rally starts: 6 Best result: 7th place (2020)
“The Italian Sardinia Rally is one of my favorite events, and I also love the island so much – especially since it’s not too far from my home,” says Pierre-Louis Loubet, 25, who was born and lives in Corsica. “We want to be as fast as last Friday’s stage in Portugal, then we have to be close to a good result that will give us momentum for the rest of the season.”
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