M-Sport Ford World Rally Team – whose cars are fitted with NGK spark plugs and NTK Lambda sensors – has recorded its best finish so far in this season’s FIA World Rally Championship with two of its young drivers finishing in the top six at the Rally de Portugal.
Co-driven by Chris Patterson, Gus Greensmith took his EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC to a career-equalling best result of fifth, while his team-mate and fellow young gun Adrien Fourmaux was just behind in sixth alongside co-driver Renaud Jamoul.
M-Sport Ford World Rally Team also extended its run of podium placings in WRC2 courtesy of Teemu Suninen and Mikko Markkula, who brought their EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta Rally2 home in second place in the WRC’s top feeder category.
Greensmith, who clocked four top-three stage times on Friday’s opening leg, started Sunday’s five-stage route in sixth position but moved ahead of Fourmaux through the first run of the legendary Fafe stage after he had gone third fastest on SS16 and SS17.
The 24-year-old completed Rally de Portugal with the fourth quickest time on SS19 and was eighth fastest through the event-closing Wolf Power Stage to cap a hugely impressive outing.
Had it not been for time lost to a damaged tyre on leg one, he would almost certainly have enjoyed a more favourable road position on day two, where the effects of road cleaning, coupled with an engine issue, cost valuable time.
Making his Rally de Portugal debut and competing in a World Rally Car on gravel for the first time, 26-year-old Fourmaux hit back from a damaged tyre on Friday’s penultimate stage and a throttle issue on Saturday’s opener to land his second consecutive top six finish.
M-Sport Managing Director Malcolm Wilson, OBE, said: “Firstly, I want to say a big well done to Gus and Adrien for their excellent performances on Rally de Portugal. It’s a very challenging event but they barely put a wheel wrong and set some hugely encouraging stage times, despite their lack of experience.
“At M-Sport we’ve always prided ourselves on giving young drivers the chance to shine in the World Rally Championship and that’s exactly what Gus and Adrien have done this weekend. They’ve both had to deal with difficult situations at times, but they never once lost their composure and always stuck to the objective we set them, namely to get through all the stages and show their obvious speed and potential.”
Mark Hallam, Marketing Manager, NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said: “It was a tremendous performance by the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team in Portugal and great to see rising stars Gus and Adrien near the top of the leaderboard in their NGK-equipped Fiestas.”
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