UNITED KINGDOM - Teemu Suninen, Gus Greensmith and Adrien Fourmaux will form the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team squad in 2021 as the Cumbrians continue to champion young talent with the ambition of a successful future in the FIA World Rally Championship.
Backing three youngsters already on the books, the aim is to progress their development and see them follow in the footsteps of their predecessors – 2019 FIA World Rally Champion, Ott Tänak, and 2020 FIA World Rally Championship runner-up, Elfyn Evans.
Continuing with compatriot co-driver Elliott Edmondson, Greensmith will contest his first full campaign with the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC and intends to make the most of his first complete season with the top-specification Fiesta.
Securing three top-ten finishes as well as a career-best fifth place last year, the Brit will use the opportunity to further his progression and is already putting in the work ahead of the opening round at Rallye Monte-Carlo.
Joining Greensmith in a second Ford Fiesta WRC at the Monegasque event, Teemu Suninen will contest a partial programme this year. Parting ways with co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen who is tackling a new challenge away from the pacenotes, the young Finn will be looking to put his previous experience to good use.
A replacement co-driver is yet to be confirmed, but Suninen remains hungry for success and will target specific events where he will have an opportunity to challenge for the top results and showcase his speed and commitment behind the wheel.
Sharing the Ford Fiesta WRC with Suninen on selected events, Adrien Fourmaux will also contest a full WRC 2 campaign with the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta Rally2 – starting with the classic opener at Rallye Monte-Carlo.
Continuing with Belgian co-driver Renaud Jamoul, the pairing are keen to continue their development with further experience in the FIA World Rally Championship’s premier support series, as well as further opportunities at the sport’s highest level.
M-Sport Ford’s striking 2020 livery will also be carried forward to 2021, albeit with a few subtle changes. A new roof motif is prominent amongst these changes and extends the popular design with further flashes of blue.
Greensmith and Suninen will both sport the Castrol-branded livery at Rallye Monte-Carlo, and a number of Pirelli logos have also been added – the Italian manufacturer becoming the official tyre supplier of the FIA World Rally Championship.
Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:
“M-Sport has a long history of supporting young drivers – it’s something that remains very close to Malcolm’s heart, and we remain committed to Teemu, Gus and Adrien as they continue their development in 2021. All three have a lot of talent, and we’ve devised programmes to bring out the best in each driver whilst enabling further progression at the various stages of their careers.
“Gus delivered some impressive split and stage times last year, and it’s now time for him to develop those skills further. We’re delighted to offer him his first full season with the top-specification Fiesta, and want to see him and Elliott take maximum experience from a full rally and test programme – learning not only the rallies, but the intricacies of set-up, engineering and everything that goes into becoming a world-class driver. I know they’re already putting the work in to ensure they make the most of this opportunity, and I’m really keen to see how they develop over the course of the year.
“We all know that Teemu has the speed – it’s something we saw on his very first outing with the Ford Fiesta WRC and we felt it important to find a way for him to continue with us this year. We’ve managed to create a partial WRC programme for him, and will target specific events where he and the Fiesta can be competitive. It’s a shame to have lost Jarmo, but Teemu learnt a lot from the short time they spent together and I’m sure he’ll put that to good use this year.
“Adrien also really impressed us last year, and we’re delighted to offer him another full WRC 2 programme with the Ford Fiesta Rally2 as well as some further outings with the Fiesta WRC. We want to ensure he gets to experience as many rallies as possible – continuing to showcase the performance of the Fiesta Rally2 but also starting to pit himself against the world’s best.
“We will continue to work hard to see if we can increase Teemu’s programme and bring additional top-level drivers into the squad, but we also have to be honest and say that the Covid situation has made things extremely difficult for us. That said, we hope there is light at the end of the tunnel and I know that every single member of the team will continue to give their best as we push for the best possible results in 2021.”
Teemu Suninen said:
“It’s great to be back in the Fiesta WRC this year. We all know how difficult times are at the moment, and I want to thank the team for their continued support and opportunity to show what I can do this year. We’ll have to wait and see how many rallies I can do, but I will work hard to do my best and deliver good results at every event.
“It’s a shame not to have Jarmo with me again this year, but we knew that this partnership would have to come to an end at some point. I learnt so much from him over the past 18 months, and straight away we secured a fantastic result together – my career-best second place in Sardinia in 2019. I want to thank Jarmo for everything and wish him the best of luck in his new adventure. I am glad that he will still have a place in the sport he loves – just on the other side of the table now!”
Gus Greensmith said:
“I’m really proud to represent M-Sport Ford, and incredibly grateful for the opportunity of a full season in the FIA World Rally Championship. This has been my dream since I was a boy, and I’m really looking forward to getting started.
“Last year gave us a taster of what to expect, and now we’re ready to throw everything into this season and really focus on progressing throughout year – not only in terms of my driving, but in terms of everything that goes into making a successful career in the FIA World Rally Championship.”
Adrien Fourmaux said:
“It’s a new season with a new goal, but one with another fantastic opportunity for me. I want to thank Malcolm, Rich and the whole team for the opportunity and intend to make the most of all the experience I’m set to gain this year.