Ford has unveiled the new Fiesta RS World Rally Car during the Paris Motor Show, marking the first public appearance for the car that will used in the WRC next season.
The preview model gives an indication of how the car will appear visually on the stages in 2011 although changes could be made before the start of the season as Ford continues development work on the car it hopes will reclaim championship honours.
Based on the Fiesta S2000 seen in the IRC and the new SWRC this season, the Fiesta will be fitted with a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, with specialist engineers from both Ford and M-Sport working closely with French company Pipo Moteur to gain extra power from the motor.
The car is due to undergo its first major test in 2011 specification next week in Spain, where Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala will sample the car for the first time.
"We're delighted to preview the Ford Fiesta RS WRC in such a prominent Motor Show as Paris,” Ford of Europe motorsport boss Gerard Quinn said. “There are significant visual differences from the Fiesta S2000 base car as well as major changes under the skin. The biggest, of course, is the 1.6-litre Ford EcoBoost turbo engine - the original version of which was developed by Ford's Powertrain Engineering team."
M-Sport managing director and BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team director Malcolm Wilson is equally enthusiastic about the new car.
"This is a thrilling time for everyone involved in the car's development," he said. "Countless hours have gone into the Fiesta RS WRC to reach this point, and for the car to be unveiled in public for the first time is a proud moment for us. We are right on track with our development and the team is delighted with testing to date. Another major step forward will be taken at the start of October when the car tests in full 2011 technical specification for the first time.
"We will have a test car running under the guidance of our technical director, Christian Loriaux. Mikko and Jari-Matti lead our challenge with the new car in the 2011 WRC, so their feedback from the testing is critical, and will provide valuable data for our engineering team to work with."