Matthew Wilson put M-Sport's new Ford Fiesta R5 rally car through its paces at the team's testing ground in the confines of Greystoke Forest in the north of England on Thursday.
The Englishman spent the day focusing on durability tests, reliability and performance and his initial impressions were very positive.
“We have made some great progress [with the Ford Fiesta R5] today – for a car to come straight out of the box and run like this is fantastic,” said Wilson Jr, who is hoping to compete with the Fiesta R5 in WRC2 later this year.
“We have mainly been testing the durability and reliability of the car today to see how it fares under the conditions it is likely to face at World Championship level, but we also worked on improving the set-up this afternoon.
“There is still a lot of development to do, but today has been very promising. All the basics are there and this new Fiesta is set to be a really competitive car.”
Despite harnessing the same expertise that launched the record-breaking Ford Fiesta S2000, Fiesta RRC and Fiesta RS WRC, the Fiesta R5 is a 'completely revised model with over 90 per cent of the car designed and developed from new'.
“While this brings its challenges, it also allows the team to expand their previous successes and create a car which is not only affordable and easily maintained, but also highly competitive,” M-Sport added. “Early indications are promising, and M-Sport's team of designers and engineers are committed to producing another globally successful rally car.”