Post Autocross Interview with Curt Rosenstengel


Earlier this month, Brandon and I competed in a Furrin Group autocross with the Ford Fiesta. To gain some more feedback about how the Fiesta handles the course, we asked Curt Rosenstengel to jump in and take the car around the track. Curt is the autocross organizer for the Furrin Group, and has 10 years of experience in autocrossing. Here is the exclusive interview with Curt.


Bryan: What is your first reaction upon seeing a Fiesta in person?

Curt: Nice looking body style.  I’ve always liked the hatchback body style.

Small, but sporty looking.   Are these smaller than the current Ford

Focus?   The five door makes it easy to put two dog crates in the

back :-).


Bryan: What do you think of the interior, seats, ect? Were you comfortable in  the car?

Curt: The seats were great.   A nice flat black leather with accent color

stitching.  Very comfortable.   Gauges were easy to read, I like the

orange color.  Easy on the eyes.   I didn’t try the HVAC or radio



Bryan: Anything you did not like or wish was different?

Curt: I don’t like the key fob thing or push button start.   I’m a



Bryan: How long have you been autocrossing?

Curt: I’ve been autocrossing for over 10 years.  Road rallying for almost 20.


Bryan: In comparison to other cars you have autocrossed, how did the Fiesta

stack up?

Curt: Slower.  It needs more get up and go.  Hopefully, there will be some go fast

aftermarket parts available.


Bryan: What is your impression of the handing of the Fiesta on course? Steering, gear shifts, brakes, ect how did they feel to you?

Curt: The steering was precise and the handling predictable.   It was very easy

to drive the course.  The gear shift placement was comfortable, but I didn’t

change gears throughout the course.  The brakes were good, but

I didn’t really push them.   Had to make sure I didn’t kick in the

traction control.



Bryan: Where you happy with the 1.6L DOHC engine?

Curt: It seemed like a decent engine.  More power would be good and for

autocrossing, a lower torque band.  I should have taken a closer look

at the engine compartment.   I am still one of those guys who likes to

do most of the maintenance myself.   Even if plugs last 100K miles, and

oil changes are longer intervals, the more maintenance I can do, the

more money I can save for upgrades.   Being able to replace a starter

or alternator without removing a lot of parts is important to me (I keep my

cars for 200K+ miles).  Compared to my 2000 VW Golf, it was very similar in

feel and pickup.


Bryan: Anything you would want changed for the US version?

Curt: A real ignition key (you can also have the start button :-).


Bryan: Did the Fiesta live up to your expectations? What are your thoughts about the Fiesta as an entire package after driving one?

Curt: I had one of the original Fiesta’s back in the early 80’s.   I enjoyed

that car, it was peppy, and fun to drive (and it had a 1.6L engine, as

well).  That car was very stripped down compared to today’s cars;

roll-up windows, 4-speed stick, basic interior, etc.   This new car

has all the bells and whistles that today’s consumer wants in a

car.   A much different direction than the previous model.  I like the

sporty look and that itself will attract younger buyers who would have

bought a Korean based car (similar styling).  It was fun to drive and

comfortable to drive, but it needs more oomph to be an autocross car.


For more information about autocrossing or solo racing, please check out or Thanks again to everyone at the Furrin Group and Curt for taking the time to organize the autocross events!


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