French star Adrien Fourmaux secured his maiden victory last weekend – powering his EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta R5 MkII to the top-step of the podium at the Malcolm Wilson Rally under the watchful eye of the man himself.

Joining M-Sport’s Junior squad for a campaign in the FIA World Rally Championship this year, Fourmaux has impressive speed and proved that as he took to the Cumbrian forests last Saturday.

Winning all but one of the seven stages, an uncharacteristic mistake on the first visit to Greystoke prevented him from claiming a clean sweep of stage wins, but he and co-driver Renaud Jamoul still took a convincing win with more than a minute and a half in hand.

“Three years ago I started my very first rally, and now I’ve taken my first overall victory,” enthused the young Frenchman.

“I’m really happy and proud of this result – and the fact that it’s Malcolm’s rally makes it even more special. He gave me a big hug and congratulations at the end, so I think he was happy too!

“The Fiesta was really enjoyable to drive and I took a lot of pleasure from these stages. Even without testing, the car gave me confidence from the very first stage and the torque is very impressive.

“It was a tricky rally, but a great experience and fantastic to take the win and make Malcolm and everyone at M-Sport proud.”

“The Malcolm Wilson Rally is obviously very close to my heart, and it was fantastic to see Adrien take the victory,” added Wilson.

“He’s a real talent for the future, and it was great to showcase his skills as well as our Ford Fiesta R5 MkII in front of the home fans.

“Congratulations to all of the competitors, organisers and marshals on another brilliant event – and who knows, maybe one day I’ll get back out there myself!”

Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson finished second with their Ford Fiesta RS WRC, and Russ Thompson and Andy Murphy claimed the final step of the podium with their Mitsubishi Evo in third.

Spadeadam Motor Club’s Rory Young and Allan Cathers had also been on course for a strong result.

After a steady start through the wet and greasy Hobcarton stage, the pairing improved stage by stage and were in fourth place overall before a front-right puncture put paid to their efforts on the first stage after service – relegating them to seventh place.

But a good run through the final Greystoke stage – just 20 seconds shy of Fourmaux – saw Young and Cather climb to sixth overall and second in class.

“It was a really good event,” said co-driver Cathers after the final stage, “well organised and well marshalled by all of the local car clubs.”

Fourmaux and Jamoul also won the United Steel Cup and MacDonald Trophy for a special performance by a West Cumbria Motorsport Club crew – courtesy of their M-Sport links.

The Keswick Plate for the best all-Cumbrian crew went to Anthony Hanson and Brad Sowerby, while Dave Brick and Rob Woodhouse claimed the Comb and Hobcarton Trophy for the fastest combined time from a two-wheel-drive competitor on the opening two stages.

The South Lakeland Trophy for Spirit of the Rally was awarded to Katy Mashiter, and the best-manned stage – as judged by the course car – was said to be SS2 Comb, commanded by Steve Bethwaite.