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Ford simulator boosting M-Sport WRC Puma performances

Utilising Ford Performance’s simulator in the United States has translated into improvements for M-Sport at World Rally Championship events this year, according to Adrien Fourmaux.

Adrien Fourmaux, Alexandre Coria, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

The Frenchman highlighted that recent simulator sessions at the Ford Performance Technical Centre’s simulator in America Charlotte, North Carolina, had played a role in helping improve the M-Sport Ford Puma Rally1’s performance on Croatia’s asphalt stages last weekend.

While Ford is not currently operating as a fully-fledged factory team in the WRC, the blue oval offers support to M-Sport’s WRC programme, which Fourmaux says has helped transform the Puma’s pace on asphalt since January’s Monte Carlo opener where he finished fifth.

In Croatia, where Fourmaux scored two stage wins, M-Sport debuted a new rear wing which was the first visible performance upgrade on the car this year.

Although he only finished the rally 17th, Fourmaux's impressive Power Stage victory helped him secure 13 championship points which keeps him third in the standings ahead of Hyundai's Ott Tanak.

“I’m really happy because we have come really far with the car since Monte Carlo,” Fourmaux told Autosport.

“The car wasn’t good at all on tarmac, we were struggling so much, but we have done a lot of development in the simulator and on the test.

“We were searching a little bit at the beginning of the rally, but after Friday afternoon where I did the second fastest time, I found a really good set-up.

“We have made a big step, but there are things we still need to improve and we are working on it to gain some time.

“It is really positive and we are much closer. We were fighting with Ott all the weekend.

“[The simulator] is working and I’m really pleased we have done a good job with the car, and it has been working on this rally.

“We are using it as a tool to make the car faster and it is working.”

Adrien Fourmaux, Alexandre Coria, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Adrien Fourmaux, Alexandre Coria, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

M-Sport team principal Richard Millener says the simulator access is a valuable resource to the British team in its fight with full manufacturer-backed operations Toyota and Hyundai. 

“Obviously there is only a certain amount of things you can do with it but it allows us to be a little bit more efficient before we go testing as testing regulations are quite restricted,” Millener told Autosport.

“It also allows the drivers to have a bit more feedback with the engineers and the design team and keep them thinking all the time about what we can do.

“It gives you a little bit more freedom to come up with some out of the box ideas that we would never try in reality and see what happens.

“It is great that they support us with those things but there are limitations as rallying is very different to circuit racing which is what the simulators are designed for at the moment.

“It is part of the help that Ford give us that not everybody knows about and appreciates the value that is to us as a company.”

 

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