M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Teemu Suninen, Esapekka Lappi and Gus Greensmith persevered to bring their EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRCs home line astern at this weekend’s Rally Estonia – in sixth, seventh and eighth places respectively.

And in the FIA World Rally Championship’s premier support series, Adrien Fourmaux delivered an impressive performance to bring his EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta Rally2 home on the second step of the podium.

Signalling the championship’s return to action, the team got off to the perfect start as Lappi took an early lead through the opening speed test. But as the action turned to fast country lanes outside the host city of Tartu, the going got tough.

Lacking confidence in the fast sections, Lappi and co-driver Janne Ferm focused on delivering a clean run through the closing stages – only to be caught out in the ruts. Forced into a spin on the second pass of Kaagvere (SS16), 10 seconds were lost along with a position to team mate Suninen.

Having not driven the top-specification Fiesta on fast gravel for more than a year, it took some time for Suninen to find his rhythm – but he and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen looked much more comfortable in today’s slippery conditions.

Closing the gap to the leaders, and reigning in team mate Lappi, the young Finn secured sixth place – a creditable position considering the lack of seat-time when compared to his more seasoned rivals.

Contesting Rally Estonia for the first time this weekend, Greensmith and co-driver Elliott Edmondson had much to learn, but the Brits held their own and delivered some notable progress throughout the event.

Starting the rally a second a kilometre away from his team mates, the youngster was soon up to speed and within two tenths of his fellow Fiesta drivers – proving his ability to learn with experience.

Also showcasing his skills as a quick learner, Fourmaux’s result was made all the more impressive when considering this is only his fifth gravel event with a four-wheel-drive Fiesta – two of which were based at the team’s testing facility in Greystoke forest.

Going up against strong competition – including two-time Rally Estonia winner and this year’s WRC 2 category winner Mads Østberg – the young Frenchman impressed with a string of highly competitive and consistent times.

Leading the rally in the early stages he and co-driver Renaud Jamoul showcased the winning-pace and performance of the Ford Fiesta Rally2, before picking up a puncture on the first pass of Elva (SS6) and fighting their way back up to the runner-up spot.

Team Principal, Richard Millener, said: “I think we achieved what we wanted to achieve this weekend, which was to get back rallying and get back into the rhythm."