Fourmaux is set to begin a second attempt as a full-time Rally1 driver this season – starting in Monte Carlo this weekend – with the the Frenchman drafted in to lead the Ford team following Ott Tanak’s departure to Hyundai.
Last season the team opted to demote Fourmaux to its Rally2 squad after an eventful 2022 Rally1 campaign that was littered with crashes.
The move appears to have benefitted the 28-year-old, who impressed in Rally2 machinery in 2023, recording a string of strong results in WRC2 while winning the British Rally Championship. The success has ultimately warranted a recall to the Rally1 squad for 2024.
“I think we have shown last year that we have been improving a lot with [co-driver] Alex [Coria] and with our management of rallies and many other things,” Fourmaux told Motorsport.com.
“I think we have more experience as we have done 16 rallies last year and got really good results, so now I’m looking forward to getting back in the Rally1 and hope to do what we did in 2023 in this car.”
M-Sport’s team principal has also noticed a significant improvement in his driver compared to the 2022 campaign.
“Yeah, 2022 was a tough year for Adrien. There were a few mistakes. It was a difficult season for the team itself and [team owner] Malcolm [Wilson] chose to put Adrien back to Rally2 and it has worked in the past and I would argue that it worked again last year,” Millener told Motorsport.com.
“We saw Adrien develop as a driver and he is a lot stronger mentally and he has better driving consistency, and he is really good at controlling his drives and working out where to push and when to hold back.
“But after Rally Japan unfortunately he has only had two days testing before Monte Carlo, which is hardly anything, so we have to let him get back up to speed.
Photo by: M-Sport
Adrien Fourmaux, Alexandre Coria, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1
“He is definitely a different driver and winning the British championship was special as well and having a title under your belt is good way to have a mentally positive attitude and hopefully that can progress into some good results.”
M-Sport has opted for a young driver line-up to pilot its pair of Ford Pumas with Fourmaux joined by Gregoire Munster, who has also received a promotion from the Rally2 squad.
Munster heads into Monte Carlo having contested two WRC rounds driving the Puma in Chile and Central Europe last year.
Given the relative inexperience of the drivers compared to those driving for Toyota and Hyundai, Millener says the team has to be realistic regarding its 2024 targets, but feels podiums are possible.
“We need to be realistic as we have two young drivers in the car,” Millener added. “I don’t think we would be doing our job properly if we said we were not aiming for a podium.
“Adrien wants to be there [in Rally1] and fought to be there all through last year. He has a point that he wants to prove, and we look forward to seeing how he will go. But we have also got to be sensible and think about consistent results over this year as not everyone is doing a full season this year.
“It does actually give us an opportunity to cause some upsets along the way and get some good consistent results to have good position in the championship as well which is key.
“Gregoire on the other hand is still very new to the car and had a good season with us last year and knows the team very well. His limited runs in the Rally1 were interesting and he improved on every stage in every rally he did, and the opportunity came round for him to have a full season.
“I think it is exciting to have two youngsters in the team and there is a lot less pressure and no expectations necessarily.”