Gregoire Munster reflects on lessons learned from challenging Rally de Portugal

Gregoire Munster and his co-driver Louis Louka from the M Ford World Rally Team

Gregoire Munster reflects on lessons learned from challenging Rally de Portugal

Festus Chuma 16:00 - 17.05.2024

Grégoire Munster reflects on valuable lessons learned from a challenging Portuguese Rally, as he prepares for Rally Italia Sardegna.

Despite retiring from last week’s Vodafone Rally de Portugal, Gregoire Munster has emphasized the valuable lessons he garnered from the first European gravel round of the 2024 FIA World Rally Championship season.

The M-Sport Ford driver’s event came to an abrupt end when his Puma Rally1 Hybrid got stuck in a ditch on the inside of a corner on Sunday, forcing him to retire early.

Munster’s maiden outing in Portugal at the top level was marked by several challenges. 

The Belgian faced a car issue near the end of the opening run at Amarante on Saturday, causing him to stop briefly. 

Nevertheless, Munster was candid in his assessment of the final day of last week’s fifth WRC round of the season.

“Portugal didn’t end well for us,” he acknowledged. “We got hooked up in a cut and landed stuck on a ditch by the sump guard, and unfortunately we couldn’t continue.”

Despite the setbacks, Munster highlighted the learning opportunities presented by the rally. 

“All in all, we learned plenty during this rally. By opening the road on Saturday we had to do a lot of cleaning – it wasn’t easy, but it was good learning for us. We also saw our times improve throughout the weekend on the second passes, on a rally that was basically new for us, we felt this was good practice and we had a good feeling in the car. We will carry the experience on to Sardinia in a couple of weeks,” he explained.

Team principal Richard Millener echoed Munster’s sentiments, noting the positive aspects of the experience despite the hurdles.

 “He had a few setbacks, but in general I think he should be happy with the pace he showed and the valuable experience gained.”

The next challenge for Munster and the M-Sport Ford team will be Rally Italia Sardegna, the sixth round of the 2024 FIA World Rally Championship, scheduled from May 31st to June 2nd. 

This 21st edition of the rally, organized by the Automobile Club d'Italia with the support of the Region of Sardinia, is set to feature a significant number of entries, underscoring the event's growing popularity and success in recent years.

This year's edition will be notable for its more compact format, a decision made at the request of the FIA and WRC Promoter. 

The new format, which Sardinia was granted a waiver to test, aims to create a more concentrated event structure. 

This could potentially serve as a model for future rallies under the new FIA regulations being introduced.

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