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WRC Rally Japan

M-Sport: Young WRC driver line-up can be competitive in 2024

M-Sport team principal Richard Millener is confident that a young driver line-up it is planning for next year can be competitive in the World Rally Championship.

Adrien Fourmaux, Alexandre Coria, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Fiesta Rally2

The Ford squad is yet to confirm its plans for next season, but should it continue in rallying’s top tier, the squad will have to field a changed driver line-up following Ott Tanak’s decision to re-join Hyundai for 2024.

This season the team elected to scale back from running three to two full-time Ford Puma entries for Tanak and Pierre-Louis Loubet, although the latter will sit out this weekend’s season finale in Japan, in favour of Adrien Fourmaux

M-Sport has however fielded private entries for Jourdan Serderidis (Monte Carlo, Mexico, Kenya, Greece), Gregoire Munster (Chile, Central European Rally) and Alberto Heller (Chile).

The team is currently assessing options with its partners and prospective drivers as it weighs up plans for next year, but Millener has previously suggested that a young driver line-up is most likely.

Millener says Loubet, Fourmaux and Munster are among the list of potential candidates. Loubet has endured a difficult first full-time WRC campaign recording two sixths as his best finishes, while Munster, driving the Serderidis-owned entry, has shown promising pace in both his Rally1 outings since stepping up from Rally2.

Fourmaux has also impressed in Rally2 after winning the second tier class at last month’s Central European Rally, as well as claiming the British Rally Championship title.

Rich Millener, Team principal M-Sport Ford Rally

Photo by: M-Sport

Rich Millener, Team principal M-Sport Ford Rally

“They’re the three drivers that would obviously come to mind as people that we would look at as they have experience in the car,” Millener told Autosport/Motorsport.com.

“We have still got some work to do to make sure the budgets are available to be there next year, but I think if we run the juniors more consistently, we have shown what they can do and I think that is the goal.

“I do think there is podiums available for all of them if they are sensible with their drives. Winning outright is probably another step on, but there is no reason why we can’t be competitive.”

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At this point last season, M-Sport held talks with Oliver Solberg regarding a potential collaboration for this year. On paper, it would seem the Monster Energy-backed 22-year-old, who has scored two WRC2 wins this year, would again be an ideal fit for 2024.

But it appears a potential move for 2023 was complicated by M-Sport’s backing from energy drinks firm Red Bull. Millener says the team is in discussions to continue its association with the brand for next year, although a deal is yet to be realised.

“We want to continue with them [Red Bull] and there is a goal to continue together but we are still in discussions regarding what is possible,” Millener added. 

“Red Bull, like all partners, are all interested in performance, but we have to be realistic on where we can be.”

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