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A full day’s action on the Acropolis Rally saw M-Sport Ford World Rally Team drivers Adrien Fourmaux and Gus Greensmith continue to deliver strong performance and sure-footed progress through more than 130km of timed stages. The fabled Greek event, which has a history dating back to 1951, is known for high attrition rates but the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRCs soaked up a day of heat and sunshine with aplomb.

Fourmaux and Belgian co-driver Renaud Jamoul held on to fifth place on the overall leaderboard throughout the day’s running. Early on the setup of the car wasn’t quite to the young Frenchman’s liking, but once the car’s settings had been tweaked at the mid-day service he felt confident to push onward.

Greensmith and his Northern Irish co-driver Chris Patterson started very brightly in sixth place overall and began to close in on their team-mate, but then a conservative approach to their tyre choices, conserving their softer and faster rubber for the final day and the points-scoring Powerstage which closes the rally.

Local hero Jourdan Serderidis, guest star on the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team in a third Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC on his country’s biggest motorsport event, also had another successful day’s running. Serderidis and experienced Belgian co-driver Frederic Miclotte started in ninth position on the leaderboard and managed to stay inside the top 10 as they battled with WRC regulars in front of a large and passionate local fanbase.

In the WRC2 category, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team newcomers Nikolay Gryazin and his co-driver Konstantin Aleksandrov had a productive second day at the wheel of their new Ford Fiesta Rally2. The Russian pairing started and ended the day third in their class, reporting no dramas as they consolidated their place and aimed for the podium on Sunday afternoon.

M-Sport Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:

“By its nature the Acropolis is a tough, gruelling event for cars and crews, but that is the sort of event on which Fords have thrived throughout the history of the WRC. To date our best event of the season was in Kenya on the Safari Rally, and now in Greece we are seeing the team show the same sort of form once again.

“There is still a long way before the finish, but we’re very pleased to see the hard work that the team has put in at the factory to prepare for a challenge of this scale bearing fruit. The crews have had one or two setup changes that they have wanted to really get their cars dialled-in but overall the drama has been minimal and we can only be satisfied with holding these positions on the leaderboard.

“There is no obvious threat to where we stand at this point in terms of our rivals, which means that the crews don’t have to risk things too much after so much mileage at this stage. It’s a long event and the way that they have adapted to it so far has been good to see.”

Adrien Fourmaux (5th) said:

“Today’s stages were much less risky in terms of the big rocks that we saw yesterday and we could push a little more. The car was good from the beginning but after a slight change to the differential in service I felt better still and this was shown in my stage times.

“We are in a very positive place for the team so far. It’s still a long way to go of course but we can consider the two first days to be a success and hopefully we can stay out of trouble and bring at least fifth place back”

Gus Greensmith (6th) said:

“I would have preferred to have more soft tyres on the car today, I think I could have pushed a little harder in some places with the extra grip, but we are very limited in terms of the number of the soft compound we are allowed to use.

“The stages this morning were very different to how we saw them on the recce – where it was so wet and foggy we could barely see them at all in places! Today was bright sunshine and gave ideal conditions to go quicker but without the experience of doing the recce in these conditions our notes couldn’t be as accurate as we needed them to be and we had to stay a bit within ourselves.”

Jourdan Serderidis (9th) said:

“There were no heroics from me today to be honest, I very much wanted to get through the stages, enjoy the experience and keep the car on the road. The stages were absolutely beautiful today, fast and flowing a lot of the time and the scenery for the fans is unbelievable. There were so many out there today, it was fantastic. We slipped back one place but it is still a day to remember.”

Nikolay Gryazin (3rd, WRC2) said:

“The day went well for us and we were able to push a little harder in the afternoon to set some good times. Everything is still new and exciting in that way, we are learning the team and the same for them with us. Certainly the Ford Fiesta Rally2 gave good confidence and even though some of the stages were tricky because the recce conditions were poor it was an enjoyable day and now we hope to hold on to reach the podium.”