Munster targets top five in season of phases

Gregoire Munster

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team driver Grégoire Munster is conscious of not skipping any steps in his rookie year at the FIA World Rally Championship’s elite level, but admits a top-five finish by the end of the season is in his targets.

The Luxembourg rookie proved worthy of his place at WRC’s top table on the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo, producing comparable times to the leading drivers on several stages on Saturday morning, only to slide wide into a barrier on the afternoon loop. “I think we showed some great pace, we did a third fastest time on Saturday morning. I think without my mistake, we could have done a top-six [finish],” rued Munster.

It brought his day to a premature end, but the 25-year-old returned to action on Sunday, ensuring he was able to grab valuable points, thanks in part to the restructured point system for this year.

“[The new points system] is a really good thing. If you asked me to do such a thing [push on Sunday] in Sweden it is difficult, but for sure on a rally where we feel more comfortable later in the year, when we are more comfortable in the car it’s a good thing to know,” opined Munster.

Had Munster achieved a top-six finish, it would already be close to seeing Munster hit his targets for 2024, and those set for him by M-Sport Ford owner Malcolm Wilson and Team Principal, Richard Millener.

“They want to see progression throughout the year and for me to show smart pace…I should not skip any steps.

“The season is in two phases. The first phase is Sweden, Portugal and Sardinia where the other guys have so much experience and we don’t so it will be really difficult to do nice results so the goal will just be to finish and grab the experience.

“In the second half of the season, where you have rallies like Central Europe and Chile which I have done already in a Rally1 car, or new events like Poland and Latvia where the others have less experience, there is more opportunity at least.”

Munster arrives in Sweden with experience of having competed there last year, albeit in an M-Sport Poland-prepared Ford Fiesta Rally3. The step up in power this year is not a fact lost on him. “It is not like I have never done Sweden but the speed this year will be much different.”

Being able to harness that speed and knowing when to push and when to pull back will all be part of the 2024 curriculum for Munster who is assured of one fact. “It’s going to be an incredible year.”

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