M-Sport Ford sends four Pumas to Holiday Island / WRC

After the inaugural victory of the Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1 of around 368 kW (500 hp) at the Monte Carlo Rally, another result will follow in the fifth round of the World Championships on the Mediterranean island.

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 wheel-to-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. On Friday and Saturday, eight more special stages await M-Sport Ford’s Puma Hybrid Armada, including the spectacular “Micky’s Jump” on the stage of “Monte Lerno.” Sunday leads over four other special stages, including “Sassari-Argentera 2”. The rally concludes from 12:18pm and serves as a powerhouse stage where the five fastest players 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. “We went through a very difficult event in Portugal, but the next round of the World Championship could be even more difficult. In previous rallies we could clearly see that our car is quite competitive. There is no reason why we shouldn’t fast in Sardinia either. Our drivers feel comfortable behind the wheel of the Puma Hybrid Rally1, and their confidence in the car is growing. The higher outside temperatures are an extra challenge for people and materials, and we’ll give everything. I’m looking forward to putting a lot of pressure on our competitors.”

“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 onboard shots. I think the special stages should suit us. We will attack as hard as it makes sense, because we definitely want to improve our position in the World Rally Championship.”

“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’s tougher in Italy and there are also very high temperatures outside and inside 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.

“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 gained recently in Portugal, and I felt very comfortable there in the Puma Hybrid Rally1. We hope to get a better result and some points in the championship.”

“The Italian Sardinia Rally is one of my favorite events, and I also love the island so much – especially because it is 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 the last time in Portugal on the Friday stage, then we have to be close to a good result that will give us momentum for the rest of the season.”

Drivers Championship stands after 4 rounds of 13

Site

team / nat / vehicle

points

1

Cali Rovanpera (FIN), Toyota

106

2

Thierry Neuville (B), Hyundai

60

3

Takamoto Katsuta (J), Toyota

38

4

Ott Tanak (Eastern Europe), Hyundai

37

5

Elfyn Evans (UK), Toyota

36

6

Craig Brin (UK), Ford

34

7

Sebastien Loeb (P), Ford

27

VIII

Gus Greensmith (UK), Ford

20

9

Danny Sordo (English), Hyundai

19

10

Sebastien Ogier (F), Toyota

19

The World Manufacturers’ Championship stands after 4 out of 13 rounds

Site

team / nat / vehicle

points

1

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

175

2

Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT

116

3

M Sport Ford WRT

94

4

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT NG

42

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