Ford Fiesta RS WRC – Only World Rally Car Built by a Private Team
The Ford Fiesta RS WRC is a rally car, developed according to World Rally Car specifications and it debuted in the World Rally Championship in 2011. The car was a factory entry of Ford Europe for two seasons. After that Malcolm Wilson’s M-Sport took over all Ford’s operations in the WRC and continued to build and run Fiestas. In six seasons from 2011 to 2016, two evolutions of Ford Fiesta RS WRC scored six WRC wins and 51 podiums.
M-Sport World Rally Team was running Fiesta RS WRC until 2016. The completely new car was prepared for the 2017 WRC season, according to new regulations, featuring the 380-hp engine. The Fiesta WRC ’17 scored a victory in its first race, the 2017 Rallye Monte Carlo.
Fiesta RS WRC succeeded extra successful Focus RS WRC
The story about Ford Fiesta RS WRC started with new World Rally Car regulations for the 2011 WRC season. All World Rally Cars were supposed to use 1.6-litre turbocharged engines, instead of 2.0-litre powerplants from the previous generation of World Rally Cars. Fiesta RS WRC succeeded Focus RS WRC, one of the most successful cars in rallying history, with 44 WRC wins in 12 seasons.
More than 300hp from the 1.6L turbo engine
A rally car was based on the sixth generation of Ford Fiesta road car which was on the market since 2008. Prior to WRC version, Fiesta already had S2000 version with a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter engine. For the WRC version, Ford installed 1.6L EcoBoost engine which produced up to 315 hp with a help from a Garrett turbocharger. All the power and 450 Nm of torque traveled to four wheels through the M-Sport/X-Trac 6-speed semi-automatic gearbox and mechanical front and rear differentials.
2011 WRC season: Ford Fiesta vs. Citroen DS3
At the beginning of the 2011 WRC season, only two new cars appeared in the championship – Fiesta RS WRC and Citroen DS3 WRC. Mini John Cooper Works WRC joined the party in the fifth round and participated in six events during the season. So, the season of 2011 World Rally Championship was basically a battle between Ford and Citroen. Citroen came out as a winner, taking both manufacturers’ and drivers’ titles.
Fantastic debut with 1-2-3 victory in Sweden
Fiesta RS WRC had a fantastic debut, scoring 1-2-3 finish at 2011 Rally Sweden, the opening event of the season. Mikko Hirvonen won the rally, ahead of Mads Ostberg and Jari-Matti Latvala. Hirvonen and Latvala were driving the #3 and #4 cars for Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, the factory entry of Ford. Ostberg was in the #6 Fiesta of Stobart M-Sport World Rally Team.
Six teams were using Fiesta in 2011
Since only two manufacturers entered the 2011 WRC season, many private teams were eligible to score manufacturers’ points with Fiesta and DS3. Besides Ford’s factory team, five more teams were running for manufacturers’ points in 2011: Stobart M-Sport, Munchi’s, FERM Power Tools, Team Abu Dhabi and Monster WRT. At least five more teams occasionally appeared at the WRC events with Fiesta RS WRCs.
Three wins in the 2011 WRC season
Mikko Hirvonen scored one more win in 2011, at Rally Australia. Jari-Matti Latvala added one victory, at Wales Rally GB. At the end of the season, Ford’s factory team was 27 points behind Citroen in the manufacturers’ championship, Hirvonen was eight points behind Sebastien Loeb in the drivers’ championship.
Besides Hirvonen and Latvala, Mads Ostberg and Henning Solberg were scoring podiums with Fiesta. Other notable Fiesta drivers in 2011 were Federico Villagra, Ken Block, Matthew Wilson, Evgeny Novikov, Per-Gunnar Andersson, Ott Tanak, Khalid Al Qassimi, Dennis Kuipers and Rene Kuipers.
Three more wins in the 2012 WRC season
The similar situation, with Citroen vs. Ford battle, repeated in 2012 WRC season, with an addition of several teams that were using Mini JCW WRC. Since Mikko Hirvonen moved to Citroen, Jari-Matti Latvala became the leading driver of Ford World Rally Team, alongside former world champion Petter Solberg in the #4 Fiesta. Citroen took the manufacturers’ title again, Sebastien Loeb captured his ninth drivers’ title.
Fiesta was a victorious car in three events, with Latvala winning in Sweden and Wales and finishing third in the championship points. Mads Ostberg added one victory (Portugal) for the Adapta World Rally Team, finishing fourth in the points. Petter Solberg scored no wins, only five podiums and finished fifth in the points.
Other notable drivers who were using Fiestas in more than one event through the 2012 WRC season were Ott Tanak, Evgeny Novikov, Daniel Oliveira, Henning Solberg, Martin Prokop, Jari Ketomaa and Ken Block.
Ford pull out, M-Sport continued to produce and run Fiestas
Significant changes happened in the 2013 WRC season. Volkswagen entered the championship with Polo R WRC. On the other side, Mini and Ford ended their factory support, leaving private companies to build their WRC machines.
Malcolm Wilson’s M-Sport entered the competition as Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team, fielding two cars for Mads Ostberg and Evgeny Novikov. M-Sport continued to develop, produce and export rally cars for other teams, so three more squads participated in the 2013 WRC season with Fiestas – Qatar World Rally Team (Thierry Neuville, Nasser Al-Attiyah, Juho Hanninen), Jipocar Czech Rally Team (Martin Prokop) and Lotos Team WRC (Michal Kosciuszko).
Nine podiums in the 2013 WRC season
Volkswagen and Sebastien Ogier dominated in the 2013 WRC season, starting a streak of four consecutive championship-winning seasons. Fiesta drivers scored no wins but collected nine podiums through the 2013 season.
Thierry Neuville was the most successful Ford’s driver, scoring seven podiums and he finished as the championship runner-up. Mads Ostberg added two podiums for the M-Sport, finishing sixth in the points.
More than twenty drivers with Fiestas in 2014
In 2014, one more manufacturer (Hyundai) entered the World Rally Championship. More rivals meant fewer podiums for Ford. M-Sport was running and supporting three teams eligible for manufacturers’ points – M-Sport World Rally Team (Mikko Hirvonen, Elfyn Evans), RK M-Sport World Rally Team (Robert Kubica) and Jipocar Czech National Team (Martin Prokop).
Besides those three teams, M-Sport had the longest list of customer teams and individual entries to run their cars, with almost twenty drivers participating with Fiestas in WRC events.
Four podiums in the 2014 WRC season
Mikko Hirvonen added three more podiums (Portugal, Spain, Wales) and was the best Ford’s driver in the final standings, finishing in fourth place behind three Volkswagen drivers. M-Sport World Rally Team finished third in the manufacturers’ classification.
First the facelift in 2014, then the Evolution in 2015
In 2013, the road-going Fiesta received a facelift and the facelifted rally car appeared at 2014 Rally Finland. Under the bonnet, everything remained the same. The Evolution of the Fiesta RS WRC came at 2015 Rally Portugal, the fifth round of the 2015 WRC season.
The new Fiesta RS WRC’s engine was completely built by M-Sport, with technical support from Ford. The car has also undergone a full redesign under the bonnet with improvements to the cooling package, transmission, electronics, wiring harness and differentials.
Long list of customer teams
In the 2015 WRC season, there were four full-time entries with Fiesta RS WRC cars and the long list of customer teams. The full-time drivers were Elfyn Evans and Ott Tanak (M-Sport World Rally Team), Martin Prokop (Jipocar Czech National Team) and Lorenzo Bertelli (FWRT).
Ford Fiesta as a TiTanak
The most memorable moment of 2015 season was Tanak’s accident in Mexico when he went off the road and sunk into the lake. The team pulled out the #6 car from the water after a few hours and M-Sport’s mechanics made a miracle recovery, repairing the car for the restart the next day. The car was renamed to TiTanak.
Fiesta was the most common car on the grid
For the 2016 WRC season, M-Sport completely changed drivers’ line-up, hiring Mads Ostberg and Eric Camilli to drive #3 and #4 Fiestas. Other entries with a full-time schedule or the ones who are participating for most of the season were Ott Tanak (DMACK World Rally Team), Martin Prokop (Jipocar Czech National Team), Yazeed Al-Rajhi (Yazeed Racing), Lorenzo Bertelli (FWRT) and Henning Solberg. In 2016, Ford Fiesta RS WRC was again the most common car on the grid.
Fiesta drivers scored four podiums. Mads Ostberg was third at Rally Sweden and Rally Mexico. Ott Tanak finished in second place two times, at Rally Poland and Wales Rally GB.
All-new Fiesta WRC with 380 hp for 2017
Technical rules were changed for the 2017 WRC season, with completely new World Rally Cars entering the championship. Besides visible changes with extremely aggressive aerodynamics, the main change is under the bonnet, because 1.6L engines were pumped out to 380 hp.
Similar to other manufacturers that have new cars with new names (Citroen C3 instead DS3, Hyundai i20 Coupe instead i20, completely new Toyota Yaris), M-Sport slightly changed a nomenclature, moving RS and adding ’17 to the name, so the official name of the new car is Ford Fiesta WRC ’17. The old car is eligible to score points in the WRC Trophy class.
Victorious debut for Ford Fiesta WRC ’17
The new Ford Fiesta WRC ’17 had a victorious debut, with Sebastien Ogier winning the 2017 Rallye Monte Carlo with #1 car. M-Sport’s second driver Ott Tanak finished in third place. Elfyn Evans is driving the #3 Fiesta for DMACK/M-Sport team.
Ford Fiesta RS WRC specifications
|Chassis/body||Unitary construction. Unique composite side panels. Welded T45 steel safety rollcage|
|Engine||1.6L EcoBoost 4-cylinder Garrett turbocharger 33mm restrictor|
|Power/torque||300 hp/450 Nm|
|Transmission||Permanent 4-wheel drive, mechanical front and rear differentials|
|Gearbox||M-Sport / X-Trac six-speed sequential gearbox with hydraulic shift|
|Suspension||MacPherson struts with Reiger external reservoir dampers. Fully adjustable fabricated steel links. Front and rear anti-roll bars|
|Brakes||Gravel 300mm Asphalt 355mm; ventilated discs with four- piston monoblock calipers|
|Wheels/Tires||Gravel/Snow: 7x15 wheels with Michelin 650mm tyres; Asphalt: 8x18 wheels|