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Ford Focus RS WRC

Jari-Matti Latvala, winner of the 2010 Rally Finland, driving a Ford Focus RS WRC 09 in Muurame, Finland.

The Ford Focus RS WRC is a car built for the Ford World Rally Team by Ford Europe and M-Sport and based on the Ford Focus Climate 2-litre production hatchback, developed to compete in the World Rally Championship. The RS stands for Rallye Sport and the WRC for World Rally Car, the car's FIA specification. The Focus RS WRC was in competition from 1999 to 2010, winning 44 world rallies and two manufacturers' world titles (2006 and 2007). It was replaced by the Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

Like all contemporary World Rally Cars, the car is heavily modified from the production version, with which it shares only the basic shape and some parts of the bodyshell. The car features four-wheel drive, rather than the front-wheel drive of the road car. The engine used in the 2007 Focus WRC is based on Ford's 2.0 Litre Duratec from other models in the Focus range as rallying rules do not permit the standard 2.5-litre engine of the Focus ST or road going RS. As with most rally cars, the 2.0-litre engine is heavily modified and performance was increased using a turbocharger. The 2009 Ford Focus RS WRC uses a Ford 1998cc Pipo built l4 Duratec WRC engine (four cylinders, 16 valves, bore 85 mm and stroke 88 mm), Pi electronic engine management system, Garrett turbocharger (with required 34 mm inlet restrictor), air intercooler, and a catalytic converter.

The car's transmission is a permanent four-wheel drive with an M-Sport designed active centre differential, Pi electronic differential control units, M-Sport/Ricardo five-speed sequential gearbox with electro-hydraulically controlled shift and an M-Sport/Sachs multi-disc carbon clutch.[citation needed]

HistoryEdit

 
Carlos Sainz driving an RS WRC 01 at the 2001 Rally Finland.

The first version of the car was built in 1999 to replace the Ford Escort WRC. It debuted in the Monte Carlo Rally with Colin McRae and Simon Jean-Joseph behind the wheels of the two cars. It was immediately on the pace, setting many fastest stage times, but the use of an illegal water pump meant that the two cars were excluded from the event. McRae gave the Focus its first win two events later on the Safari Rally Kenya finishing over 15 minutes ahead of the second placed Toyota of Didier Auriol. Despite coming close on several occasions, the car never won either the drivers or manufacturers title. This included McRae losing the 2001 title by 2 points after crashing out of the final round.

In 2003, Ford released a newly designed Focus RS WRC, named Focus RS WRC 03, for competition during the second part of the season. The car, with most parts redesigned from the ground up, featured a lighter body shell and a new aerodynamically enhanced front bumper and wing. Markko Märtin drove the car to two world rally victories. The 2004 and 2005 Focus RS WRCs were evolutions based on the RS WRC 03. The Focus RS WRC 04 won three events with Märtin at the wheel. By 2005, the car was no longer very competitive and Ford had a winless season.

From the last rally of the 2005 season, Ford campaigned a brand new model, the Focus RS WRC 06, following the launch of the new road-going version of the car. The engine chosen for this Focus was a Duratec motor developed by the French engine specialist Pipo Moteur.[1] In the hands of Marcus Grönholm and Mikko Hirvonen, the car took eight world rally wins in the 2006 season, winning the first manufacturers' championship for Ford since 1979.

 
Mikko Hirvonen driving an RS WRC 08 in Germany.

The Focus RS WRC 07 is based on the 2006 model, and according to Ford's technical director Christian Loriaux "the changes on the new car are mainly to save weight and to improve efficiency, driveability and performance at the bottom end of the range."[2] The car debuted very successfully at the 2007 Rally Finland as Ford's Finns Grönholm and Mikko Hirvonen finished in first and second. Ford successfully defended the manufacturers' championship in 2007. The car later made history at the 2008 Swedish Rally when Jari-Matti Latvala used it to become the youngest-ever driver to win a world rally.

The Focus RS WRC 08 is based on the 2007 model. The Focus WRC 08 was in competition for the first time with its new front aero design at the 2008 Rallye Deutschland. The 2008 version of the Focus RS WRC includes design style changes as well as engine improvements. Style changes to the grill area reflect the looks of the recently previewed Focus RS Mk II road sport car. The 2008 RS WRC was driven to its only victory at the 2008 Rally Japan.

The 2009 version of the Focus RS WRC debuted at the 2009 Rally d'Italia Sardegna, leading Ford to a 1-2. It includes small design style changes. Style changes were made to the lights frame and rear bumper to bring the look closer to the Focus RS Mk II 2009 road sport car. The 2009 Focus RS WRC remained the last of Ford's WRC cars based on the Focus. It was replaced by the Ford Fiesta RS WRC after the 2010 season.

The Ford Focus RS WRC appeared in 173 World Rally Championship events, winning 44 and collecting 142 podium places.[3]

WRC VictoriesEdit

No. Event Season Driver Co-driver
1   1999 Safari Rally 1999   Colin McRae   Nicky Grist
2   2000 Rally de Portugal 1999   Colin McRae   Nicky Grist
3   2000 Rallye Catalunya 2000   Colin McRae   Nicky Grist
4   2000 Acropolis Rally 2000   Colin McRae   Nicky Grist
5   2000 Cyprus Rally 2000   Carlos Sainz   Luís Moya
6   2001 Rally Argentina 2001   Colin McRae   Nicky Grist
7   2001 Cyprus Rally 2001   Colin McRae   Nicky Grist
8   2001 Acropolis Rally 2001   Colin McRae   Nicky Grist
9   2002 Rally Argentina 2002   Carlos Sainz   Luís Moya
10   2002 Acropolis Rally 2002   Colin McRae   Nicky Grist
11   2002 Safari Rally 2002   Colin McRae   Nicky Grist
12   2003 Acropolis Rally 2003   Markko Märtin   Michael Park
13   2003 Rally Finland 2003   Markko Märtin   Michael Park
14   2004 Rally México 2004   Markko Märtin   Michael Park
15   2004 Tour de Corse 2004   Markko Märtin   Michael Park
16   2004 Rally Catalunya 2004   Markko Märtin   Michael Park
17   2006 Monte Carlo Rally 2006   Marcus Grönholm   Timo Rautiainen
18   2006 Swedish Rally 2006   Marcus Grönholm   Timo Rautiainen
19   2006 Acropolis Rally 2006   Marcus Grönholm   Timo Rautiainen
20   2006 Rally Finland 2006   Marcus Grönholm   Timo Rautiainen
21   2006 Rally of Turkey 2006   Marcus Grönholm   Timo Rautiainen
22   2006 Rally Australia 2006   Mikko Hirvonen   Jarmo Lehtinen
23   2006 Rally New Zealand 2006   Marcus Grönholm   Timo Rautiainen
24   2006 Wales Rally GB 2006   Marcus Grönholm   Timo Rautiainen
25   2007 Swedish Rally 2007   Marcus Grönholm   Timo Rautiainen
26   2007 Rally Norway 2007   Mikko Hirvonen   Jarmo Lehtinen
27   2007 Rally d'Italia Sardegna 2007   Marcus Grönholm   Timo Rautiainen
28   2007 Acropolis Rally 2007   Marcus Grönholm   Timo Rautiainen
29   2007 Rally Finland 2007   Marcus Grönholm   Timo Rautiainen
30   2007 Rally New Zealand 2007   Marcus Grönholm   Timo Rautiainen
31   2007 Rally Japan 2007   Mikko Hirvonen   Jarmo Lehtinen
32   2007 Wales Rally GB 2007   Mikko Hirvonen   Jarmo Lehtinen
33   2008 Swedish Rally 2008   Jari-Matti Latvala   Miikka Anttila
34   2008 Jordan Rally 2008   Mikko Hirvonen   Jarmo Lehtinen
35   2008 Rally of Turkey 2008   Mikko Hirvonen   Jarmo Lehtinen
36   2008 Rally Japan 2008   Mikko Hirvonen   Jarmo Lehtinen
37   2009 Rally d'Italia Sardegna 2009   Jari-Matti Latvala   Miikka Anttila
38   2009 Acropolis Rally 2009   Mikko Hirvonen   Jarmo Lehtinen
39   2009 Rally Poland 2009   Mikko Hirvonen   Jarmo Lehtinen
40   2009 Rally Finland 2009   Mikko Hirvonen   Jarmo Lehtinen
41   2009 Rally Australia 2009   Mikko Hirvonen   Jarmo Lehtinen
42   2010 Swedish Rally 2010   Mikko Hirvonen   Jarmo Lehtinen
43   2010 Rally New Zealand 2010   Jari-Matti Latvala   Miikka Anttila
44   2010 Rally Finland 2010   Jari-Matti Latvala   Miikka Anttila

GalleryEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "THE ALL-NEW FORD FOCUS RS WRC 06: TECHNOLOGY AND INTELLIGENT SOLUTIONS". media.ford.com. Archived from the original on 2011-05-25. Retrieved 2008-02-26.
  2. ^ "Ford Focus RS WRC 07, BP-Ford World Rally Team seeks to take huge steps forward". Auto Racing Daily. Archived from the original on 12 January 2009. Retrieved 23 November 2008.
  3. ^ "Ford bids a star-studded farewell to its Focus WRC". WRC.com. 12 November 2010. Retrieved 7 June 2011.

External linksEdit

Awards
Preceded by
Toyota Corolla WRC
Autosport
Rally Car of the Year

2000, 2001
Succeeded by
Peugeot 206 WRC
Preceded by
Citroën Xsara WRC
Autosport
Rally Car of the Year

2006, 2007
Succeeded by
Citroën C4 WRC