The M-Sport Ford driver found himself in the crowd of spectators on the stretch of road before the penultimate stage of the day. Furmo decided to overtake the line of cars, but was stopped by the local police.

Fourmault eventually arrived at the start of the stage two minutes late, resulting in a 20-second time penalty and dropping the Frenchman from fourth to fifth in Sunday’s final four stages.

The 27-year-old felt the punishment was not in keeping with the spirit of the rally and said he would try to appeal the sanction.

“We were stopped by the police on a section of the road because we were overtaking a large line of cars going to a roundabout, and the policeman didn’t agree with that,” Furmo said.

“It was taking time, so we were two minutes late for control. It’s a shame, it must be very unpleasant.”

Asked if he would appeal the decision, he said: “We will try, because for me this is not a rally.”

Reflecting on his day outside of the late penalty, Fourmault declared himself happy as he had enjoyed a good performance so far throughout the asphalt contest.

Adrien Fourmaux, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team

Photo: M-Sport

Furmo was fourth on Friday before he was hampered by sudden rain that affected only three Rally1 competitors but cost him a minute and a half.

The departure of teammate Craig Breen and Thierry Neuville from Hyundai, combined with a series of fast stages, helped Fourmaux move up the rankings.

However, he was lucky that his encounter with the ditch that ended Breen’s stage 10 rally there were no more serious consequences.

“First of all, I am very satisfied, yesterday we were fourth, then eighth, now we are back to fourth. [before the penalty]”, he added.

“It’s very positive for me, I’m very happy, we had a very good time and pace today.”

Furmo will start Sunday’s final stage 14.3 seconds behind fourth-placed Oliver Solberg.

If Furmo finishes the rally in fifth, it will equal his WRC career best result achieved in Croatia and Kenya last year.

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