Mixed results at Monte for NGK-sponsored M-Sport

Season-opening brings eighth place finish for EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC

NGK-sponsored M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Gus Greensmith and Elliott Edmondson overcame tricky conditions at the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo to bring their EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC home in eighth place overall.

The team had the pace to challenge for the top results at the weekend with Teemu Suninen the fastest driver before he was caught out by a particularly slippery section of tarmac when his Fiesta, which is fitted with NGK spark plugs and NTK Lambda sensors, was flung into a bank and out of the rally.

Coming off the back of a confidence-building test, Greensmith was hoping to use that speed to his advantage, but come the rally it didn’t translate, and the young Brit struggled to find a comfortable rhythm behind the wheel but still achieved the fifth fastest time, some positive splits and a haul of points on the first event of the year.

Elsewhere in the WRC 2 category, Adrien Fourmaux and Renaud Jamoul showcased the pace and performance of the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta Rally2 – second only to experienced rally-winner Andreas Mikkelsen.

Team Principal Richard Millener said: “We had the potential to challenge for a good result this weekend, and it was great to see that pace from Teemu on the opening stage.

“Even without all the upgrades, we can still be as competitive as our rivals in the right conditions – it’s just a shame it didn’t last longer than it did, especially after all the hard work it took to get here.

“Gus had a really good test and was looking forward to the rally, but for some reason it just didn’t click for him.

“He’s extremely self-critical and I know he’ll have taken the disappointment to heart.

“And let’s not forgot how difficult this rally is.

“Confidence is everything, and if you’re missing that it’s going to show.

“But he made it through – he got the mileage and we’ll work with him to unlock that confidence on the next rallies.”

Mark Hallam, marketing manager, NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said: “It was an exciting start to the season.

“Monte-Carlo is always full of drama and the team showed a lot of promise which hopefully bodes well for a successful 2021 season.”

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