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Ford’s newest rally car, the Fiesta ST Group N, will make its world championship debut on this weekend’s Rally Finland (4 – 7 August). Two of the showroom specification vehicles, which have been designed and built by British-based preparation company M-Sport, will be used by rally organisers for safety car duties on this 10th round of the FIA World Rally Championship.
Ex-Formula 1 star Mika Salo will drive one of the two-litre, two-wheel drive Fiesta ST Group Ns, which has recently been homologated for international rallying by the FIA.

Ford and M-Sport, the Blue Oval’s centre for international rally projects, have worked closely on the development of the Fiesta ST Group N rally car since the launch of the road car in late 2004. It has been aimed at the enthusiastic amateur competitor, with the emphasis on providing a reliable, fun to drive rally car with a competitive edge that is cost-effective to build and economical to run.


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Jost Capito, director of Ford TeamRS, the organisation within Ford which co-ordinates the company’s European motorsport programmes and performance vehicle operations, and M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson unveiled the new car this evening ahead of the start of the Rally Finland tomorrow night.

“Since the launch of the road car in October 2004, the ST version (Sport Technology) of the Fiesta range has given users a chance to mix the class leading dynamics of the hugely successful Fiesta range and add to it a series of performance and styling images to create a car that is designed to flatter the novice and reward the experts,” said Capito. “Taking this model as the base, M-Sport has developed the ST road car a step further to create a competition version to cope with the rigours thrown at it by national and international rallying.”


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Under the leadership of M-Sport engineer Chris Williams, the team at M-Sport took the standard road car back to a bare shell. Using the technology employed in the development of the Ford Focus RS World Rally Car, they rebuilt the Fiesta to incorporate the safety features and the performance improvements required for it to compete successfully on rallies around the world.

“The brief to our engineers was simple,” said Wilson. “I asked them to design a car that was fun to drive but with cutting edge performance. We wanted to revisit the days when an enthusiastic amateur driver could take a standard car from a Ford dealer and use the parts kit supplied to build a competition car that was fun to drive, reliable and economical to compete in. I’ve tested the car and I believe it stands up to all those requirements.


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“The Fiesta ST Group N is a vehicle which will appeal to drivers at all levels of the sport. It is aimed at everyone from young competitors just starting out at the grass roots of rallying, right up the ladder to drivers wishing to sample the excitement of competition at professional level. If you are a rally enthusiast, the Fiesta ST Group N is a car that you will want to drive,” he added.


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A ready-to-rally car will cost in the region of 30,000 Euros, including the cost of the standard road car, and the Group N conversion kit can be bought from M-Sport. Future plans for the car include a one-make series in several European countries.


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Technical Specification
Engine: 1999cc Duratec engine. Four cylinders in line, DOHC, 16 valves, alloy cylinder head and block.
Electronic multipoint fuel injection.

Power: 165PS at 5800rpm

Torque: 202Nm at 4500rpm

Transmission: Five-speed ‘dog’ engagement gearkit fitted to standard ST road car casing. Upgraded driveshafts fitted as standard. Plated LSD.

Suspension: Upgraded suspension of ST road car includes revised front knuckles and strengthened twist beam rear axle. Reiger dampers, adjustable for rebound, and revised spring rates. Uprated suspension bushes.

Brakes: Standard ST road car front and rear disc brakes.

Wheels: Gravel: 15in OZ Racing wheels
Asphalt: 17in OZ Racing wheels
Wheels manufactured in both Super T and Rally Racing style.

Bodyshell: Multipoint roll cage designed by M-Sport, complying with FIA regulations. Includes three X braces in rear and twin tube door bars with no cross-over.

Electronics: ‘Piggy back’ loom supplements standard loom. Includes electronic circuit breaker and wiring for additional requirements.

Fuel tank: Standard 45-litre tank with Kevlar composite moulded guard.

Dimensions: Length: 3921mm. Width: 1683mm. Height: 1468mm. Wheelbase: 2486mm.

If you love everything Ford, consider checking out a Ford Dealership near Wichita. They have a fantastic range of models.

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Zerin Dube

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