M-Sport's Millener: Estonia "first real test" of new Fiesta R5

M-Sport team principal Richard Millener says this weekend's Rally Estonia will be the first real test of the firm's all-new Ford Fiesta R5

M-Sport's Millener: Estonia "first real test" of new Fiesta R5

Eric Camilli drove the Fiesta as a course car on the Ypres Rally in Belgium last month, but there were no official times to gauge the Frenchman's progress.

Finn Teemu Suninen - who regularly drives in M-Sports top-line WRC squad - will be under the microscope when he starts from Tartu on Friday for the event which has received a number of WRC entries.

Millener told Autosport: "It was great to get the new Fiesta R5 out in Ypres, but Estonia's the first real test of the car.

"It's not going to be easy for Teemu, he hasn't really done any [development] testing with the car and it's not easy to step back from the World Rally Car to the R5 and he's straight into the rally without a test.

"All that said, [it would] be nice if he could win the R5 class!"

Suninen and M-Sport will face WRC 2-level opposition from Takamoto Katsuta, who drives a previous specification Ford Fiesta R5, and last year's surprise Rally Finland WRC 2 winner Eerik Pietarinen (Skoda Fabia R5).

Recent Rally Latvia winner - a victory which made him the youngest ever winner of a European Rally Championship round - Oliver Solberg joins the class in Estonia, driving a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5.

Ahead of the R5s will come one of the strongest ever fields for a national rally outside of the WRC, with all four WRC manufacturers represented.

WRC championship leader Ott Tanak will look to repeat his home win from last season aboard a Toyota Yaris WRC, while Esapekka Lappi sails across the Baltic Sea from his home in Finland to drive Citroen's C3 WRC.

Suninen's team-mate Elfyn Evans drives a Fiesta WRC, while Hyundai runs two i20 Coupe WRCs for Andreas Mikkelsen and the squad's new recruit for Rally Finland the following week, Craig Breen.

While the WRC crews utilise the fast gravel stages as preparation for Rally Finland, Tanak's countryman and multiple WRC rally winner Markko Martin will entertain a huge home crowd on his debut in a current generation Fiesta WRC.

Rally Estonia starts from Otepaa on Saturday morning and runs 15 gravel stages (nine on Saturday, six on Sunday) and 95 competitive miles before finishing on Sunday afternoon.

Ostberg to miss Rally Finland in favour of R5 testing

One man who won't be in Estonia or Finland is Mads Ostberg.

The Norwegian - who finished second on last year's Rally Finland in the team's full WRC squad - wants Citroen to focus on the development of the C3 R5 before it returns to fast gravel.

Given the high-speed nature of the next round of the series, the concern is for front-end grip as the air gets underneath and lifts the car's nose over the jumps.

"We need a lip at the front of the car," said Ostberg, "this would help, but I have been talking about this since Sweden.

"I said back then that it would be difficult to do Finland if we didn't have this work and it hasn't come, so we don't go.

"I was supposed to do Finland, but I'm pulling [on] the brake a little bit now. I don't want to commit to doing more unless we do more work with the car.

"The car is getting older and the others are coming with new cars and we need to work on this; I am trying to change the philosophy with the car to make it quicker, but now we see if they listen to me or not.

"Really, it hurts a lot not to do Finland. I wanted to do it, I want to do it, but we are not prepared for it - simple as that."

shares
comments
Candidate event proves Safari deserves 2020 return - WRC Promoter
Previous article

Candidate event proves Safari deserves 2020 return - WRC Promoter

Next article

Rally Estonia winner Tanak deliberately chose adverse starting spot

Rally Estonia winner Tanak deliberately chose adverse starting spot
Load comments
How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers Plus

How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers

After winning his eighth WRC title, Sebastien Ogier has drawn the curtain on his full-time rallying career. To understand Ogier's legacy, many of his former rivals, team-mates and colleagues have shared their thoughts on a vastly successful career

WRC
Nov 26, 2021
Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies Plus

Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies

Richard Burns was a determined driver who took on the best rally drivers in the world during a boom period in the early 2000s, and beat them. On the 20th anniversary of his crowning glory in winning the 2001 WRC title, and 16 years on from his death on the same date, Autosport picks out his 10 greatest drives

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion Plus

The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion

At the turn of the millennium, WRC was full to the brim with rallying's great and good - and 20 years ago on this day, Richard Burns became England's first world rally champion. Although Burns' natural talent drove him to the top, his steely determination and mental strength was the key attribute behind his title-winning form

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
How Ogier emerged out of Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend Plus

How Ogier emerged out of Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend

OPINION: Adding an eighth WRC title to his name, Sebastien Ogier has bowed out from full-time rallying in style. Having been compared throughout his career with nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb, Ogier has convincingly demonstrated that he can stand on his own as one of the greatest rally drivers in history

WRC
Nov 22, 2021
How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend Plus

How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend

This weekend's Rally Monza marks the end of an era in the World Rally Championship, as Sebastien Ogier prepares to bring down the curtain on his full-time career with an eighth title. For all his enduring success, the Toyota driver reveals in an exclusive interview that lingering insecurities have compelled his quest for perfection

WRC
Nov 18, 2021
The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC Plus

The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC

The McRae family name is steeped in rallying history, with eight British titles between Jimmy, Colin and Alister - plus the small matter of the 1995 WRC title too. Next on the conveyor of talent is Alister's 17-year-old Max McRae, who’s setting out in Australia to conquer the world of rallying and return the famous name to the WRC...

WRC
Nov 12, 2021
Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era Plus

Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era

As the World Rally Championship undergoes its biggest shift in regulations for a generation, teams are taking radical measures to prepare for its new era. Hyundai's unique approach involved conducting a private 1500km rally in Italy and Autosport went to see how the team is preparing for 2022

WRC
Nov 4, 2021
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Plus

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
Oct 18, 2021