Archive for February, 2010

M-Sport’s Ford Fiesta S2000 on song in Sweden

Written by M-Sport 

Rally Sweden proved to be another highly successful event for M-Sport’s new Ford Fiesta S2000 as three finished in the top four places of the S-WRC category and the car scored an overall WRC stage win for the first time.

 

Four of the new generation rally cars were in action at the opening round of the FIA World Rally Championship.  Bernardo Sousa and Andreas Mikkelsen entered with Fiestas prepared by M-Sport, while Martin Prokop and Janne Tuohino were run by their own private teams.

 

Sousa, Prokop and Tuohino were all registered to score points in the new S-WRC category for S2000 specification cars, and with the new car having taken victory in its competitive debut in Monte Carlo and Qatar, plus ex-Ford WRC driver Marcus Grönholm having completed 230km of set-up in the Fiesta prior to Sweden, all were confident of putting in a strong performance on the snow-bound stages.

 

Day one saw the Fiesta S2000s fighting at the front of the S-WRC category.  Janne Tuohino was chasing the early leader P-G Andersson from the off, but was trying to measure his driving rather than going flat out and risking a mistake.  Andreas Mikkelsen followed closely behind Tuohino and looked strong throughout the day.  Reigning Junior World Rally Champion Prokop was around 20seconds further back after a relatively incident-free drive, but Sousa didn’t have it all his own way after hitting a snow bank and losing his light pod.

 

The second day of the event was action-packed.  Mikkelsen started to get to grips with the conditions and mounted a charge on the first stage of the day that saw him overhaul Tuohino to go second of the S2000 cars in the overall standings.  Prokop continued steadily throughout the day but then put a real marker down as he recorded the fastest time on the short SS16 Hagfors Sprint – beating every other car in the field to take an overall stage win and a create a new first for both the S2000 class and the Ford Fiesta S2000.  In another stunning performance Sousa recorded the second-fastest time on the same stage, while Tuohino was fourth and Mikkelsen eighth.  That meant four Fiesta S2000s in the top eight overall stage times, a fantastic effort against the more powerful WRC-spec cars.

 

On the final day of the rally all of the Fiesta S2000 drivers reported themselves happy with the way the car was performing and continued to enjoy a smooth run towards the finish.  Andreas Mikkelsen hit a blip when a cable that helps to select reverse gear came loose after SS18 Varmullsasen and he was late leaving service, costing him a ten-second penalty.  However, the rest of the Fiesta S2000 crews enjoyed a smooth final loop of stages to bring home a clutch of outstanding results from the supremely tough Rally Sweden.

 

Andreas Mikkelsen said:

“It has gone very well.  We only had a short test before the rally so everything still felt new when we started and we had to learn as we went along.  It felt good all the way though, and there was a lot more grip than I expected in these conditions.  The tyres did a very good job and we didn’t lose many studs.  The rally was difficult but everything went fine for us.  I think the season ahead will be very good for us in this car.”

 

Janne Tuohino said:

“The stages were hard because the first loop was always nice but the second was very hard on the tyres.  The car has been very strong but maybe we need a little more time to learn how to use it better.  We lost too much time on Friday so since then it has really been focusing on developing our feeling with the car.  In a few more events we will be very fast.”

 

Martin Prokop said:

“This rally has been nearly perfect, we have had no problems at all.  The car was really special all the way.  We didn’t do anything special in terms of our driving so to get the stage win on Saturday was great.  It was hard to fight with the others in front because they have a better understanding of these conditions.  The rest of the year we will be more confident back on gravel and it is a big opportunity for us to do something really good.”

 

Bernardo Sousa said:

“It’s been an unbelievable event for me.  I don’t have much experience of winter rallies but I have really enjoyed every minute.  It’s always so different driving in these conditions.  The only problem we had was a small thing with the intercom on the last day, everything else was great.  The pace of the competition was very high, which is good, but we know we are here to pick up experience and would not really be able to fight to win.  On the gravel and tarmac events I think we can go really well this season in this car.”

 

M-Sport Managing Director Malcolm Wilson said:

“I’m delighted with the Fiesta S2000’s WRC debut.  At some point every Fiesta driver has put in a great performance and to achieve a fastest overall stage time on its debut was just remarkable.  All four Ford Fiesta crews have had no major problems and it demonstrates that we found both the performance and reliability with this new car.  Andreas drove very well and it was great to see Janne Tuohino top of the registered SWRC crews in his Fiesta.”

 

Final SWRC Result

1. P-G Andersson/A Fredriksson      SWE             Skoda Fabia S2000   3h21m39.3sec

2. J Tuohino/M Tuohino                FIN              Ford Fiesta S2000     +57.3sec

3. M Prokop/J Tomanek               CZ                Ford Fiesta S2000     +2m56.4sec

4. P Sandell/E Axelsson                 SWE             Skoda Fabia S2000   +4m40.1sec

5. E Brynildsen/C Menkerud           NOR             Skoda Fabia S2000   +4m58.0sec

6. B Sousa/N Rodrigues                P                  Ford Fiesta S2000     +7m15.6sec

7. P Saav/K Lexe                         SWE             Skoda Fabia S2000   +17m49.4sec

 

FIA SWRC driver standings

1. P-G Andersson – 25         2. J Tuohino – 18     3. M Prokop – 15     4. P Sandell – 12  

5. E Brynildsen – 10            6. B Sousa – 8         7. P Saav – 6

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M-Sport’s Ford Fiesta S2000 Set for WRC Debut in Sweden

M-Sport’s Ford Fiesta S2000 Set for WRC Debut in Sweden

 

M-Sport’s new Ford Fiesta S2000 will make its first appearance in the FIA World Rally Championship at Rally Sweden next weekend.

 

The latest rally car developed by M-Sport, in conjunction with Ford, made a hugely successful competitive debut when it recently took wins in other championships at Monte Carlo and Qatar in the hands of Ford’s WRC driver Mikko Hirvonen and  former Middle East Rally Champion  Nasser Al-Attiyah respectively.

 

Four Fiesta S2000s will now fly the flag for M-Sport in the World Rally Championship when Rally Sweden begins next Thursday.

 

Bernardo Sousa and Andreas Mikkelsen will enter the opening round of the 2010 season with Fiestas prepared by M-Sport, while Martin Prokop and Janne Tuohino will be run by their own private teams.  Sousa, Prokop and Tuohino will be registered to score points in the new S-WRC category for S2000 specification cars.

 

All four drivers chances of mounting a strong challenge in Sweden will be boosted thanks to help from former double-world champion and ex-Ford WRC driver Marcus Grönholm.

 

The Finn completed 230km of testing and set-up work in the Fiesta S2000 in Kall, Sweden, to help M-Sport find the optimum settings for the car in the extreme winter conditions expected at Rally Sweden.

 

M-Sport will make the knowledge gleaned from the test available to its drivers in order to give them the best possible opportunity to produce a good result on the snow-bound Swedish stages.  The quartet of Fiesta drivers will have the chance to further fine-tune their preparations when they take part in their own pre-event tests.

 

The new S-WRC category has already proven popular among competitors, with a mix of experienced crews and exciting new talent signing up to take part in the series for 2010.

 

M-Sport will look to build on the momentum taken from the wins in Monte Carlo and Qatar and see the new Fiesta S2000 prove to be an equally formidable package in the S-WRC.

 

M-Sport Managing Director Malcolm Wilson said:

“After two incredible victories in Monte Carlo and Qatar, we are now going to another extreme of conditions at Rally Sweden.  We are confident that the car can maintain its performance and we’ve been boosted by the fact that Marcus Grönholm has been helping out with the testing; he’s come up with a really good base setting for Sweden.  The M-Sport drivers will all have access to the information and it’s all part of the service to try and give our customers the best possible support.  We’ve had a great season launch in Paris this week and the S-WRC has certainly got the potential to be a very exciting championship; there’s lots of young drivers signed up and it will really spice things up.”

 

Former Ford WRC driver Marcus Grönholm said:

“The Ford Fiesta was very nice to drive and I was impressed by the road-holding, it was really perfect.  The engine felt very strong and you really get the feeling that this is a proper rally car to drive.  It brings back the excitement as you have to be aggressive and drive at the correct revs.  I was impressed at how the rear holds nicely on the road and overall the whole package is very good indeed.”

 

Ford Fiesta S2000 driver Bernardo Sousa said:

“Although I competed in this rally in 2008, I don’t have a lot of experience of snowy conditions.  This will be a challenging rally, it’s the start of a brand new championship for everyone and I will need to see what the pace is like.  This year I have, I believe, the best car and the best team so now I need to be clever and just takes things step by step.  I’m really looking forward to this year, the championship will be very exciting and there will be lots of competition; any one of five drivers could easily win the rally in Sweden.”

 

Ford Fiesta S2000 driver Andreas Mikkelsen said:

It’s a great opportunity for me to drive the new Ford Fiesta S2000 in Rally Sweden. This is a rally I really like, and I have good memories from Sweden back in 2008 when I was fifth overall in a Ford Focus RS WRC. The conditions are very similar to what we have in Norway, and we have done four winter rallies in Norway before we go to Sweden; I think myself and my co-driver Ola Floene are well prepared. With the good performance Mikko Hirvonen showed with the Fiesta S2000 in Rally Monte Carlo and with the M-Sport team behind me, my goal is to fight for the win in the S2000 class in Sweden. It would be great for me to give Ford and M-Sport a win in the world rally debut for the new Fiesta S2000.”

 

Ends

 

Notes to editors:

Further information about the Ford Fiesta S2000 rally car and copyright-free high-resolution images can be found at www.fiestaS2000.com . Images of Bernardo Sousa’s Ford Fiesta S2000 are available on this website.

 

For further information please contact:

Media Contact: Glenn Patterson (t) +447920 548976, (e) glenn@the-inside-line.co.uk

Project Contact: Andrew Wheatley, (t) +441900 828888, (e) awheatley@m-sport.co.uk

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Racetech Sno*Drift Review

by Bryan Redeker

Photo’s by Brandon Redeker

2010 Sno*Drift Rally

2010 Sno*Drift Rally

Racetech Performance spent the weekend in Atlanta Michigan to watch the Rally America 2010 season opener, the famous Sno*Drift Rally. The team drove the 2010 Ford Fiesta about 4 hours north to spend Friday night in Gaylord Michigan. Once we got the hotel, our phones starting buzzing with updates from SS7 saying the Monster World Rally Team Ford Fiesta had suffered a suspension failure, and was done for the event. Our main reason for going to the event was now over, and we would not be able to see the Ford Fiesta compete in a rally. The rest of the night would be spent with friends, drinking beers, and talking about cars. Outside our hotel room, the sounds of snowmobiles and boxer-engined Subaru’s could be heard while we sat around and talked cars. Every few minutes we could hear people stopping and talking about the Fiesta that was parked on the other side of our hotel room door. Comments could be heard until around 2:30 am from people interested in the car.

Saturday morning started at 4:45am as we got ready and headed into Atlanta to see the rally cars in Parc Expose’. The frigid cold did not stop an army of fans who swarmed the Subaru of Travis Pastrana. There was talk everywhere about where Block was, and how nobody could find the Fiesta rally car. Most fans were probably unaware of the late night suspension failure that took him out of the event. Besides the Fiesta I was driving and one Raptor truck, finding a Ford oval was rare in the sea of spectator Subaru’s. We made it over to talk to Andrew Frick, who was piloting the blue Ford Focus, and checked out the Terra Firma sponsored Focus driven by Dillon Van Way. With the Fiesta retired, we would be cheering for the remaining Fords in the event.

We continued on to the first spectator stage, where the Fiesta had a chance to navigate down a very icy, twisty, tree-lined two track road. I would have to say that the highpoint of the event was driving the Fiesta down and back from that stage. If I could have turned off the electronic babysitter (traction and stability control) the Fiesta would have been even more fun to drive! The computer was fighting me for control around corners, and did not understand my use of the handbrake. At the spectator stage, we were bombarded with questions concerning the Fiesta I was driving, and what had happened to Ken Block’s Fiesta. Regardless of where we went on Saturday, a crowd of people were always around the Fiesta asking questions and taking pictures. I had way more people asking about the car than at any car show I went to last year.

After the Super Special Stages, the team had decided that it was getting late and we should make our way back home. A quick stop in for dinner in Gaylord, and then we were off heading south. I let my friend Erik Barber take the pilot seat in the Fiesta for the way home so he could get some seat time. I watched over Twitter on my phone and updated the team on the results of the closing stages of the rally. While the Subaru team was spraying Champaign, the MWRT Fiesta was back in Dearborn and the Fiesta I was driving was heading home. Hopefully next year we will stay for the Champaign celebration, and it will be a Fiesta parked in P1.

Click on the image above to open the photo gallery.

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