Rally Portugal organisers have this evening released its entry list for the 19-22 May event, which includes Fourmaux in one of five M-Sport Ford Pumas set to tackle the first gravel event of the season.
Question marks had surrounded Fourmaux’s position in the M-Sport line-up after crashing out of last weekend’s Rally Croatia, his third consecutive retirement from as many events this season.
Fourmaux lost control of his Puma on a wet patch of tarmac road in Stage 3, which resulted in a wild crash into the garden of a residential property. The impact damaged the chassis of the Puma, ruling it out of the remainder of the rally.
Speaking in an interview with Dirtfish this week, M-Sport team principal Richard Millener revealed that the team was potentially considering its driver line-up options for Portugal in the wake of the accident.
Millener had been concerned by Fourmaux’s recent asphalt form following a heavy crash at the Monte Carlo season opener but indicated that the team would support its young driver when quizzed by Autosport following the crash in Croatia.
“It is clear from the statistics that the tarmac events is where he is making mistakes,” Millener told Autosport following Fourmaux’s crash in Croatia.
“He is really upset about this one, as he was genuinely trying so hard to have a sensible clean rally.
“He hadn’t had any errors up until that point and wasn’t pushing too hard.
Adrien Fourmaux, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team
Photo by: M-Sport
“There is a few things that we can all learn about how to help him to avoid that in future, but hindsight is wonderful thing when you get to this position.
“It is just tricky, but we will work with him and try and get him back on track for Portugal.”
The release of the Rally Portugal entry list confirms a record 12 Rally1 cars for the event, which has been chosen by the WRC to mark its 50th season. A host of special activities are planned to celebrate the milestone.
It was announced this week that eight-time champion Sebastian Ogier will return to the championship for the second event of his part-time WRC programme, taking over the third Toyota GR Yaris driven in Sweden and Croatia by Esapekka Lappi. He will line up alongside Toyota team-mates Kalle Rovanpera, Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta.
Ogier is set to continue his rivalry with nine-time WRC title winner Sebastien Loeb, who will rejoin M-Sport following his victory over Ogier on his comeback in Monte Carlo. The Frenchman will pilot one of five M-Sport Fords, with Craig Breen, Gus Greensmith, Fourmaux and Pierre-Louis Loubet also present.
Hyundai will field three i20 Ns for Thierry Neuville, Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo, the latter making his first start of 2022 in the third car vacated by Oliver Solberg.