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2011-02-02 07:49

FAST FORD: Can this car match Loeb in his new DS3? In two weeks time we’ll find out, at Rally Sweden.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Ford
Model Fiesta RS
Engine 2l turbo
Power 220kW @ 6 000rpm
Torque 450Nm @ 4 500rpm
Transmission Six-speed sequential
Fuel Tank 80l
Weight 1200kg
As world championship rallying prepares for its new season of competition with 1.6-litre cars, Ford has become the first manufacturer to release technical details of its Fiesta dirt racing contender.

Ford – and WRC fans – hope rallying’s premier championship will cease to be a one-man show with the introduction of new rules for the 2011 season.

The amendments are primarily aimed at reducing costs, by simplifying the cars, and ultimately curtailing the absolute dominance of Sébastien  Loeb.

Unsurprisingly WRC’s two leading teams – Ford and Citroen – have both closely guarded the exact technical specifications of their cars during a highly pressurised development timetable in the off-season.

Now, with the first event of the season (Rally Sweden) approaching, Ford has let its guard down and unpacked some details concerning the M-Sport prepared Fiesta it hopes will take Mikko Hirvonen to championship glory.

Potent 1.6...

Powering Ford’s Focus WRC replacement is a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, said to borrow heavily from Ford’s new range of EcoBoost road car engines.

With a boost regime controlled by a Garrett turbocharger and running a 33mm air-inlet restrictor, the WRC Fiesta is good for a peak power output of 220kW (as expected), supported by a torque turning point on the dynamometer graph of 450Nm.

The engine’s internal architecture is decidedly oversquare, featuring an 83mm bore versus 73.9mm stroke, ensuring very quick crankspeed pick-up and instant throttle response.

Although power figures remain unchanged compared to the larger capacity Focus WRC car’s 2-litre engine, the Fiesta is down by 100Nm compared to its WRC predecessor.

Traction is a fundamental part of any rally car, but for the 2011 season teams are forbidden to run active differentials.

LESS CONRTOL: Despite steering geared at 12:1 (a turn and a half, lock-to-lock), WRC driver’s will have their hands off the wheel a lot more, thanks to a return to sequential shifting…

Instead, the Fiesta WRC car makes do with simpler mechanical differentials servicing the front and rear wheels, controlled by a six-speed sequential transmission built by British specialist X-Trac.

The AP racing-sourced clutch also features a special disconnect system to avoid embarrassing stalls when sliding the car around a hairpin courtesy of the handbrake.

Keeping the 1 200kg WRC Fiesta balanced at speed when it is traversing the trickiest terrain imaginable are MacPherson struts at all four wheel corners, controlled by Reiger external reservoir dampers.

Slowing the WRC Fiesta down are rotors by Italian supplier Brembo, with the four-piston caliper actuation adjustable for front or rear bias – depending on road surface conditions. On asphalt the Fiesta is set to run 355mm brake rotors, reverting to smaller 300mm discs for gravel stages.

To support the different brake sizes, WRC Fiestas are to run 18-inch wheels on tar stages, switching to 15-inch alloys for snow and gravel.

Ford’s done 11 000km worth of WRC testing with the Fiesta since March last year, although the test cars initially were powered by the WRC Focus 2-litre engine, before changing to the current 1.6-litre engine in August. The test programme came to a spectacular end with Mikko Hirvonen surviving a huge crash at 150km/h early in January.

With the season’s pace notes nearly at hand for navigators, Ford will be hoping its Fiesta WRC rally car can finally usurp Citroen, set to campaign its new DS3 this season.


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