M-Sport Ford World Rally Team had a terrible start on the opening stages of the 2020 Rallye Monte-Carlo, newcomer to the team, Esapekka Lappi made the best out of it with a sixth-place finish on the overall standing after the two night-time stages.
All three cars suffered overheating engines on the opening stage of the rally with leaves being stuck in the front at the radiator grill and all lost time due to that.
Lappi persevered and completed the first day with one minute down from the leader, and while that may seem a lot, this is Rallye Monte-Carlo where things can turn around quickly.
On the second stage which is the longest one of the rally, two of the cars continued with issues. Teemu Suninen was forced to retire his car for the day after a transmission failure mid-stage. Gus Greensmith guided his car through the narrow and twisty stage with a turbo failure that cost the Brit important time.
In the all-new WRC2 Championship for factory R5 cars went out to be smoother as newcomer Adrien Fourmaux took an early on the opening stage of the rally.
On the second stage the Frenchman picked up a front-right puncture which cost him the lead and lost three minutes down the order.
“This definitely isn’t the start we wanted. Everyone talks about needing a little bit of luck on an event like this and we definitely haven’t had that this evening. I can’t remember the last time we had an issue with a turbo, and it looks as though Teemu was pretty unfortunate too.” Richard Millener said.
“We need to find a solution for the overheating issues we suffered through the opening stage, but the engineers have been working on that and we hope it won’t be too much of an issue through the remainder of the event.”
“Esapekla is still just a minute off the lead and, while that might sound like a lot, I think we all know that anything can still happen!
“In the WRC 2 Championship Adrien was brilliant through the opening stage. He really put a marker down and showed everyone what he’s here to do this season. It was a great time, against drivers with a lot more experience.
“Of course it’s a shame that he picked up a puncture on the second stage, but he’s still smiling and I think we will see a fair bit from him this year!” Millener added.