Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global
WRC Rally Kenya

M-Sport not “massively concerned” after difficult WRC Safari Rally

M-Sport team principal Richard Millener isn’t “massively concerned” after a tricky Safari Rally that yielded sixth and seventh for its World Rally Championship drivers. 

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

The Ford squad has been absent from the WRC podium since Ott Tanak finished second in Croatia back in April, a result which was then followed by the Estonian finishing fourth in Portugal before an electrical fault robbed him of a top 10 result in Sardinia. 

Last weekend, Tanak led the Safari Rally heading to Friday but his hopes of a podium were dashed when a tyre came off the rim during stage four, costing M-Sport driver more than two minutes. Tanak was forced to change his wheel again later in the rally when his wheel broke again.

Tanak ultimately finished the rally 9m14.4s adrift in sixth. Team-mate Pierre-Louis Loubet also had to make two wheel changes and battled an early engine mishap, resulting in the Frenchman coming home seventh, more than 16 minutes behind the winning Toyota of Sebastien Ogier.

Tanak did however prove the Puma’s speed by winning the powerstage following the disqualification of Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville. Tanak heads to next month’s home round in Estonia 42 points behind championship leader Kalle Rovanpera. 

“We are not concerned. Again we have shown the pace of the car on the powerstage and I can tell you those Toyota drivers were trying and they were all carrying an issue,” Millener told Motorsport.com.

“We often get a hard time about reliability but if you look all four of those Toyotas had the same problem. I think the speed the drivers are driving at and the conditions we are going through are tricky. 

“I don’t think we are in a position that we need to be massively concerned about, okay Ott is still not 100% comfortable, but I think when you drop two minutes [to a puncture] and you are missing that battle with someone it is never the same. Anyone that is competing knows that if you are not fighting you have the pace but you don’t have the adrenaline rush to push that little bit harder. 

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Photo by: M-Sport

 

“We had a couple of tyres off the rim like a de-bead. Ott’s second one the wheel rim was completely smashed into, and they are all brand new rims, so it is not like we are not doing the best we can with them. It is hard to tell [what happened], there are so many rocks and everything. 

“It could have been an impact from ages ago. If there is hairline crack which you don’t see at some point it just goes. Even Ott said he had no idea what it was, it just went. I think that is part and parcel of the game.

“If you look at Ott he had a damper issue but that was because the wheel issue took the broken canister on the damper so it was kind of related from that. We didn’t really have any issues at all for him. 

“Pierre-Louis had an issue with the engine map on the first stage but the roughness of the stage altered one of the dials on the steering wheel. Then he had a turbo issue on the last stage but that was due to the dust. Apart from that we have no issues so I think the reliability is very good. The luck wasn’t with us.”

Although content to still be in the championship fight, Millener the team is continuing with the development of upgrades for the Puma, but is unsure if a homologation joker will be used next month.

“The team are obviously developing some stuff but I don’t know if it will be ready,” he added. 

“You have so few [homologation windows] so you have to be careful when you use it. We are always developing and we have been developing dampers and set-ups since the start of the season. We are working on a few things, but we will see. 

"We are still showing the pace in powerstages so the car isn’t so far way. We just need to not have any of these annoying problems that we have been having at the start of rallies.”

Read Also:

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation

Related video

Previous article WRC Safari Rally: The Good, The Bad and a battle between champions
Next article New stadium superspecial for WRC Rally Japan

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global