The British squad took the covers off its 2024 Puma at last week’s Autosport International before embarking on its first pre-event test of the season ahead of the Monte Carlo curtain raiser (25-28 January) last weekend.
M-Sport scored two wins last year, matching rivals Hyundai, after Ott Tanak triumphed in Sweden and Chile, but a run of reliability issues – engine in Estonia and Finland plus water pump in Greece – hampered the team in the mid-season and ended any hopes of a title push.
Although unable to match the resources of factory squads Toyota and Hyundai, M-Sport plans to continue developing its Puma this season. A new rear wing has been seen in action during Sunday’s Monte Carlo test and is expected to come online later in the year.
Team principal Richard Millener says the rear wing is part of M-Sport’s development plan that includes solving its reliability woes of 2023.
“We will still be developing the car, and we have a development plan,” Millener told Motorsport.com.
“There are a limited amount of developments each team can do, but our plan is to do as much as we are allowed. I read a lot of stuff about us not developing and not testing, which is not the case. We are probably giving our drivers the most testing as both our drivers will have two days each before Monte Carlo.
“We are doing everything we can. We are working on a new rear wing, which people have seen, that will come in a few rallies time, so we are still pushing ahead. It is difficult to compete against the others, but I don’t use that as an excuse because we still won two rallies last year, so the car is good enough to win.
“There was a culmination of completely different things last year that came together, and we had a run of two or three bad rallies, and that is what cost our championship hopes.
“We know we need to get better at that, and reliability costs us despite the reasons for reliability being very different. We know we need to get better at that, and we have promised that this is one of the main things we are working on to get right. We know we can do that as the previous season , the car was good; we just need to get back there.”
This season, M-Sport will welcome a new driver line-up, with Adrien Fourmaux and Gregoire Munster receiving a promotion from the team’s WRC2 squad. The pair replace Tanak, who has rejoined Hyundai, while Pierre-Louis Loubet has secured a Rally2 program with the Toksport Skoda team.
Fourmaux jumped behind the wheel of the Puma for a pre-event test on Sunday and Monday before handing over the car to team-mate Munster. Toyota and Hyundai completed their Monte Carlo tests last week.