Ford’s all-new Fiesta RS World Rally Car made a dream debut by powering to a 1-2-3 finish in Rally Sweden over the weekend. Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team’s Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen won a thrilling opening round of the FIA World Rally Championship by just 6.5sec from Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson. Hirvonen’s team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila were third.
It was Ford’s first podium clean sweep since Rally Sweden in 2008, when Latvala claimed his maiden WRC win and was followed home by Hirvonen and Gigi Galli. Ford Abu Dhabi holds an 18 point lead in the manufacturers’ world championship and Hirvonen’s victory makes him Ford’s most successful WRC driver. This was his 13th victory, edging him ahead of former team-mate Marcus Grönholm.
Eager anticipation built up ahead of the start. New cost-effective, more environmentally aware regulations – based around 1600cc turbocharged, four-wheel drive cars – ushered in a fresh era for the WRC. The first rally for the new-generation cars proved an exciting one with five drivers starting the final day with a realistic chance of victory.
The championship switches to gravel next month for the first of two rallies in the 2011 calendar in the Americas. Rally Mexico is based in León on 3 – 6 March.
Monster World Rally Team’s Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino came in 14th.
The Ford WRC are busy preparing for the 2011 season and are looking forward to the competition debut of the Ford Fiesta RS WRC 2011 in Sweden. In the meantime, here’s another quick look back at the highs and lows of 2010.
Powering the WRC prepped Fiesta, there is a fire breathing version of the FoMoCo 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine with 300 horsepower and 331 foot pounds of torque. The car at the scales in at a 2,645 pounds.
A 12:1 steering rack, massive Brembo brakes and an X-Trac six-speed sequential transmission ensure that the 2011 WRC will be an exciting season.
After the cars from Citroen and Mini for the 2011, Ford have revealed ther 1.6 liter direct injection, turbocharged Ecoboost engine which is reported to be tunable up to the 300 bhp limit for the 2011 WRC cars.
The all-new Fiesta RS World Rally Car, made its first global public appearance at the Paris Motor Show today.
The Fiesta RS WRC will make its competition debut in Rally Sweden, the opening round of the 2011 FIA World Rally Championship, on 10 – 13 February.
For Paris, the preview model has been finished in a striking blue and grey livery, specially developed for the show by Ford of Europe’s design team. The new World Rally Car, derived from the best-selling Fiesta road car, is being developed by Ford of Europe and its rally partner M-Sport.
Using as a base the Ford Fiesta S2000 rally car, which won the legendary Monte Carlo Rally on its debut last January and other international and national rallies in 2010, Ford of Europe’s design team and M-Sport have worked together to fine-tune the styling of the bodywork and aerodynamic package of the new Fiesta to create an exciting replacement for the outgoing Focus RS WRC.
Although detailed changes may be made as the Fiesta RS WRC car continues its development programme through the balance of this year and in time for the commencement of the team’s specialised pre-season testing, the final car will share the eye-catching appearance and acclaimed ‘kinetic design’ styling cues synonymous with Ford’s latest road vehicles. The interior will also be instantly recognisable as a Fiesta RS WRC rally car as it contains a number of production parts.