New Fiesta RS World Rally Car
Motoring Staff - 26/October/2010
Ford Fiesta RS World Rally Car
The car features a 1.6-litre prototype engine
The Fiesta RS WRC made its first public appearance
at Paris Motor Show last month
& France - The
Ford Federation Internationale de L’Automobile World Rally Championship
drivers, Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala, drove the all-new
Fiesta RS World Rally Car for the first time during recent testing.
The Finns, accompanied by respective co-drivers
Jarmo Lehtinen and Miikka Anttila, took the wheel of the Ford
challenger for the 2011 world championship on gravel roads in Spain and
France. The seven-day test marked a significant step forward in the
car's development ahead of its debut in the opening round of the series
in Sweden next February.
Hirvonen and Latvala will drive Fiesta RS WRCs in
all 13 rounds next season and both were delighted after their debut
"I had looked
forward so much to driving the Fiesta RS WRC and I was very satisfied
with it," enthused Hirvonen. "It was just as much fun as I hoped and
I'm genuinely excited about what we can achieve with it. Of course,
there is still a lot of development to do but my first impressions are
very good. It has its own unique feel and it's like driving an angry
difference between the Fiesta RS WRC and the outgoing Focus RS WRC is
the engine. There is less torque from the 1.6 litre engine in the
Fiesta than we have from the 2.0-litre unit in the Focus, and it
requires a different driving style as a result. The engine needs to be
kept at high revs.
slightly more aggressive approach is needed, especially in slower
corners, where the driver needs to take command and attack harder,
rather than letting the car do the work," added Hirvonen.
Latvala tested on what he described as the
'roughest rally road on which I've ever driven'.
road is usually used for testing cars of the type that compete in the
Dakar Rally and it was full of big rocks, holes and bumps. It asked a
lot of the car, but I pushed hard because the team wanted to see how
the Fiesta behaved in those conditions," he said.
was impressed and I was pleased at how quickly I found a good feeling
at the wheel. The balance felt very good and the engine was better than
I expected," explained 25-year-old Latvala.
The car, derived from the best-selling Fiesta road
car, is being developed by Ford of Europe and British-based rally
The Fiesta RS WRC that tested last week was
powered by an engine close to the specification in which the car will
compete next year. Specialist engineers from Ford and M-Sport have
co-operated closely in the development of the direct injection
1.6-litre turbocharged unit, based on the new Ford EcoBoost road
vehicle power plant. Highly-respected French tuner Pipo Moteur has
brought additional expertise.
In a parallel test near M-Sport's base at Dovenby
Hall, in north-west England, the definitive 2011-specification engine
was also run. This unit is scheduled to power the Fiesta RS WRC when
the test programme continues with a three-day session on asphalt in
Spain, following Rally de España.
The Fiesta RS WRC had already successfully
completed more than 2500km of durability work, mainly in the hands of
P-G Andersson and Matthew Wilson. It was initially powered by a
two-litre turbocharged engine before a prototype 1.6-litre unit was
used more recently.
Recent testing concentrated on specific set-up and
M-Sport managing director and BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
director Malcolm Wilson was delighted with both the performance of the
Fiesta RS WRC and his drivers' enthusiasm for the new car.
testing we have done until now was based on durability and obtaining
feedback," said Wilson. "That raised no major issues and
meant we could progress the programme this week by moving onto specific
set-up for the car. Mikko and Jari-Matti have valuable experience of
the rallies in the WRC calendar, and possess the detailed knowledge to
provide a base specification from which to fine-tune the set-up from
rally to rally."
weather in Spain ranged from high temperatures at the start of the week
to heavy rain and mud as the test progressed. It wasn't pleasant for
the team, but it was perfect for putting the car through its paces in
the type of varied conditions we will encounter in the championship
next year," added Wilson.
Ford of Europe motorsport chief Gerard Quinn is
equally enthusiastic with the drivers' initial impressions. "It was an important week in the
development of the Fiesta RS WRC. We are very pleased to receive such a
positive reaction from Mikko and Jari-Matti's first drive in the car.
We can move forward confidently to the next stage of testing,
encouraged that the hard work put into the design and development has
been so well received," he said.
The Fiesta RS WRC made its first public appearance
at Paris Motor Show last month. The preview model was finished in a
striking blue and grey livery, specially developed for the show by Ford
of Europe's design team. Ford and M-Sport continue to work on details
of the car's styling, to ensure that the rally car shares the
eye-catching appearance and 'kinetic design' characteristics of Ford's
latest road vehicles.
Block & 2011 Ford Fiesta in Gymkhana 3 (2010)
RS by BBR (2010)
Fiesta (Road Test)
Diesel (Road Test)
XR4 (Road Test)
XR5 Turbo (Road Test)