M-Sport Ford team principal Richard Millener believes his squad can bounce back at this week’s Rally Turkey (18 – 20 September) following a disappointing restart to the team’s FIA World Rally Championship season.
Teemu Suninen, Esapekka Lappi and Gus Greensmith finished line astern in sixth, seventh and eighth at Rally Estonia earlier this month, more than two minutes off Ott Tänak’s winning pace.
But Millener thinks the British-based team can be resurgent at Turkey’s demanding rough road, hot-weather fixture.
Lappi finished second in Marmaris 12 months ago, Suninen arrives on the back of a brace of fourth places on the rally and Greensmith scored a dramatic WRC 2 Pro win after rolling on the final stage last season.
“All three drivers have finished well here,” said Millener, “and we know the car’s got really good speed. Let’s not forget what Sébastien Ogier did here two years ago when he broke a wishbone on one stage, fixed it with a ratchet strap and went quickest on the next one.
“Historically, cars from M-Sport are fast and reliable. This Fiesta has strength and performance and we need to use that this week.”
The team boasts a history of strong results on some on some of the WRC’s most challenging roads, with victories at rallies like the Safari and Acropolis commonplace through the last two decades.
Millener admits Estonia was a difficult rally and wants an improvement this week.
“There was some concern from the drivers about how competitive the cars would be,” said Millener, “but then Esapekka was fastest on the first stage. Yes, it was a short stage, but the other guys were all driving to win it as well.
“We know the car’s got speed and we know what we can and want to achieve this week. It’s vital we go there with a positive state of mind. Turkey can be a crazy rally where anything can happen and we need the guys going quickly enough to be right there in the mix.”