Sun 28 Apr 2024

Remembering when… Fourmaux finished first on ERC Rally Islas Canarias

Adrien Fourmaux delivered in style on his Rally Islas Canarias debut in November 2020, taking his first outright victory in the FIA European Rally Championship and topping the ERC1 Junior classification to boot in his M-Sport Ford World Rally Team-entered Fiesta R5 MkII.

Co-driven by Belgian Renaud Jamoul and using Michelin tyres, Frenchman Fourmaux moved in front on the rain-hit final morning and held firm in the closing stages with Yoann Bonato making it an all-French one-two in his Michelin-equipped Citroën C3 R5.  

Iván Ares, driving a Pirelli-shod Hyundai i20 R5, was the top Spanish finisher in third with Oliver Solberg clinching the ERC1 Junior crown in fourth. The 19-year-old was followed home by José Suárez and Andreas Mikkelsen as seventh place was enough for Alexey Lukyanuk to become ERC champion for the second time in three years.   

On his second ERC appearance, Fourmaux started leg in second position, 7.5sec behind overnight leader Iván Ares. But when Ares was 10sec slower than stage pacesetter Yoann Bonato on the final day’s opening stage, the Hyundai driver slipped to third overall, 1.2sec behind Fourmaux and 0.4sec adrift of Solans, who was second fastest through the stage.   

Solans, who lost the lead to Ares on Friday’s penultimate stage, was back in front after SS11, but his charging run through the rain-hit stage came at a cost. Despite two damaged tyres, Solans was 1.6sec ahead of Fourmaux, who was one of several leading drivers to aquaplane on standing water on a right-hand corner 100 metres from the stage finish.

But with only one spare tyre on board his Škoda Fabia Rally 2 Evo, Solans was forced to limp through the next two stages before service and dropped to P15 as a result. He was subsequently then excluded after being adjudged to have driven on a road section with only three fully inflated tyres.  

With an advantage of more than half a minute starting the closing loop of four stages, Fourmaux eased his pace knowing victory was assured providing he kept out of trouble. He duly made it home with a 25sec winning margin over Bonato to score his and the first ERC win for M-Sport’s latest-generation Fiesta.   

“It’s a great result,” Fourmaux said afterwards. “I’m really happy because it was a really tough weekend for all the drivers but we won and it’s a really good feeling for us. But it’s also good for the team and for Michelin. I think every driver made a mistake at some point. We did a mistake in the second stage of the day, it was right at the end of the stage but we were okay and all the drivers went off in the same place. Otherwise, all was okay and it’s a great result for M-Sport. I can only say thanks to the team, all was perfect.”

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM