All is not lost at Safari Rally, insists M-Sport's Millener

M-Sport Ford Team Principal Richard Millener says his team will bounce back from the disappointment of witnessing three of their four Puma Rally1 cars being struck down with a variety of issues on the opening day of Safari Rally Kenya.
All is not lost at Safari Rally, insists M-Sport's Millener

Gus Greensmith was the only Blue Oval driver to make it back to the overnight service halt, but even then, his day was no without its drama. A right-rear delamination on stage four resulted in the right-rear wheel arch catching fire and the best part of 13 minutes was spent by him and Jonas Andersson tending to the fire before they could continue on their way.

Nine-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb hit difficulties at the end of the morning loop's final stage with an engine fire - a problem that has since been traced back to a faulty O-ring. With the motor refusing to fire up and the Frenchman having depleted the car's battery charge in his efforts to make it back to service, he had to throw the towel in.

An early bath also beckoned for Adrien Fourmaux at the end of the fifth test because of a differential failure before further salt was rubbed into the British squad's wounds by suspension failure on Craig Breen's Puma. It is understood the Irishman picked up a puncture in the early part of Friday's closing test and by electing to drive, on this exacerbated the problem.

“Quite a difficult day for us here, unfortunately [with] every car suffering a very different issue,” said Millener, who has confirmed all three drivers will be back in action tomorrow as the damage to their Pumas is fixable.

“It has been a really difficult day for us. We have brought four entry cars here and pretty much every single one has had an issue, so we will repair them all, we will go again – rallying is not easy – and we will just see what happens.

“We can still gain places if other people have issues, we can’t really gain through catching people, and we will also see what we can maybe do come Sunday on the Power Stage.There is still a long way to go but obviously [it is] disappointing after all of the effort the team has put in.

“Once again, and I say this at every rally, but without this team – working way beyond what any normal team would be expected to do – it’s just a real shame we can’t reward them here this weekend. But we have been through harder times, so we will continue and go from there,” he added.

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