With the cooperation with the nine-time record champion Sébastien Loeb, M-Sport has made itself the favorite at the start of the new era with hybrid vehicles at the Monte Carlo Rally.
The new season marks the beginning of the hybrid era and the launch of a new car. The M-Sport team looks forward to the challenges ahead and the promise of a competitive season. This year’s Rally1 cars feature a 100kW hybrid powertrain coupled to a 1.6-litre turbocharged internal combustion engine that uses 100% renewable fuel for the first time in the sport’s history.
The traditional season opener will take place over four days, with the service park being based in the Monaco port area throughout the event for this year. The added challenge of using hybrid for the first time in competition is further increased because no proper lunch service point is allowed on any of the event days. In 2022, Irishmen Craig Breen and Paul Nagle will lead the M-Sport team along with Adrien Fourmaux and Alexandre Coria, as well as Gus Greensmith and Jonas Andersson. Nine-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb will also join M-Sports ranks with Isabelle Galmiche as co-driver, initially as a one-off start in the legendary season opener.
The team will showcase a diverse range of experience as young, fresh talent is combined with the knowledge of the sport’s most decorated driver. During the 2022 season, M-Sport and Ford will celebrate 25 years of partnership and compete in the FIA World Rally Championship. This landmark anniversary has seen the team claim three manufacturers’ titles for Ford and a total of seven FIA World Championships when driver and co-driver titles are included. The pairing also have 61 wins and a record 268 consecutive points in events to date.
Richard Millener, Team Principal, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team, said: “There’s a huge anticipation for Monte-Carlo, both internally and from the fans, so we’re really excited to finally show everyone what we’re up to in the worked so hard for the past 18 months. An exceptional amount of work has gone into preparing the cars for the rally and of course there will be challenges when you have a new car but we are very happy with the position we are in. Having Sébastien Loeb with us is a dream come true for many at M-Sport and we know all the other drivers will benefit from his experience at Monte Carlo. We’ve done everything we can to put ourselves in the best possible position for the season opener, now it’s up to our crews to show us what they can do!”
Sebastian Loeb: “After two weeks at the Dakar Rally it’s a radical change of scenery, but it’s still very exciting to compete in the Monte Carlo Rally, especially in the new hybrid era of the WRC. I’m also proud of this collaboration with Malcolm’s team, working with them has been talked about throughout my career but never really happened so thank you all M-Sport, Ford Performance and Red Bull for being such a finally made this great event possible. I will certainly be less prepared for this rally than the other drivers, but the feeling with the Puma Hybrid Rally1 was very good straight away and everything just fell into place. I’m looking forward to this weekend with Isabelle, my new co-driver, and the entire M-Sport team.”
Craig Breen: “It is always very special to compete in the Monte Carlo Rally, but to do it with the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team is a dream come true! The team has done an incredible job building and developing the Puma Hybrid Rally1 and it really shows. It’s by far the best rally car I’ve driven and with the addition of the hybrid unit it will add another dimension to the rally. Paul and I are enjoying the challenge and are really looking forward to the coming year with M-Sport and Ford.”
Adrian Fourmaux: «For Rallye Monte-Carlo we will try to do our best and understand the level of performance compared to the others. It will be my first time here in the top category of WRC, I’ve been here before at Fiesta Rally2, my first appearance was already a top ten overall! I love these roads, I’ve performed pretty well in the past so I have good hopes. By the way, it’s a new era for everyone, so we need the perfect match between the car’s reliability and driving ability to do well until the end of the rally. We hope to deliver the best possible result, anything is possible!»
Gus Grünschmied: “The team did a great job developing the new car and I feel very comfortable driving it. We are all confident that the car should be much more competitive than it has been in recent years, which will hopefully give us more opportunities to fight near the front. I was just a second away from my first stage win last year and I think that’s definitely an achievable goal with the new package and we also want to try to fight for our first podium. Monte Carlo has always been a tricky start to the championship. It will be important to increase speed throughout the weekend, especially as this is Jonas and I’s second rally together.”