M-Sport Ford team principal Richard Millener says the British squad can take confidence from its pace on the last two FIA World Rally Championship rounds of the season.
Esapekka Lappi’s first day speed at ACI Rally Monza last week enabled the Finn to win a stage and lead the event for three stages. That matched the achievement of team-mate Teemu Suninen in the previous round at Rally Italia Sardegna.
Beyond the factory team’s World Rally Car effort, Millener was also buoyed by the speed shown by Adrien Fourmaux in the team’s Ford Fiesta Rally2.
The Frenchman led WRC 2 early on, but missed out on his shot at a class win due to a puncture on the second run at the Cinturato stage on Friday afternoon.
Millener said: “We had the pace to win the rally and the WRC 2 class last weekend, so there is an element of disappointment. But we can still take a lot of confidence away from this performance and everyone can be really proud of what we’ve achieved over the last two rallies especially.
“It’s no secret that this has been a tough year for M-Sport and we’re not in the same position as the other teams, so to lead two rallies on the bounce is pretty impressive.”
Millener extended his praise to WRC officials who kept evolving the championship calendar through a difficult coronavirus-affected period.
He said: “I also want to say a big thanks to everyone at the FIA, WRC Promoter and event organisers who worked tirelessly to ensure we could finish the season with seven events. Every rally has been exciting to watch and I’ve personally enjoyed watching the action unfold.”
Millener wouldn’t be drawn on which drivers would be returning to M-Sport next season. Discussions regarding a 2021 driver line-up are ongoing.