FORD BRINGS FIESTA R2 RALLY CAR INTO NORTH AMERICA FOR 2011

LAS VEGAS, 2 November 2010 - Ford is to make available the successful Fiesta R2 rally car in North America for the first time next year, it was announced at the Speciality Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas today.

The Ford US motorsport team will offer the R2 kit that allows enthusiasts to transform their five-door Fiesta road vehicle into a rally-ready competition car. It will then be eligible to compete in the Fiesta SportTrophy series, which will form part of the Rally America national championship for the first time in 2011.

The Fiesta R2 rally kit has been developed by UK-based M-Sport, Ford's partner in the FIA World Rally Championship since 1997. The car is widely available throughout Europe and the FST series already operates at national championship level in up to 10 countries globally.

"The spirit of One Ford is making it possible for us to bring the best of European rallying to competitors in the U.S," said Jamie Allison, director, Ford North America Motorsport. "The Fiesta R2 has proven itself in Europe as a great platform for aspiring rally drivers."

The kit for North America will convert a production Fiesta five-door to rally specification. Included in the package are engine parts that will increase the performance of the 1.6-litre Ti-VCT four-cylinder engine: pistons, con rods, camshafts, valve springs, injectors, airbox, air filter and a sump baffle kit. The performance enhancements deliver 170PS and 182NM of torque, a 40 percent increase in power over the production Fiesta.

Other upgrades include:
. Five-speed Sadev sequential gearbox with flat shift gear cut
. Reiger adjustable dampers with Eibach springs
. Ventilated disc brakes with AP four-piston competition calipers
. T45 steel multipoint roll cage

In addition to the full R2 kit, Ford Racing will also offer a Stage 1 kit based on the R2 package. It will include parts designed for the rigors of rallying, including a roll cage, ball joints, engine performance upgrades, dampers and a limited slip differential. This package will offer competitors a lower cost entry-point to take a Fiesta into rallying.

Team O'Neil Motorsports, a division of Team O'Neil Rally School in New Hampshire, is the official reseller and authorised installer for the R2 kits. Only cars prepared by Team O'Neil will be eligible for the US Fiesta SportTrophy Championship.

New Fiesta SportTrophy class

Enthusiasts who add the R2 package to their Fiesta will have the ability to compete in the Fiesta SportTrophy in RallyCar's Rally America National Championship 2WD class from 2011. The winner of the FST series will be awarded a ride in the R2 class in a Fiesta at Wales Rally GB.

In addition, the winner will have the opportunity to compete in the Fiesta SportTrophy International Shootout in Great Britain for a chance to win a year's residential placement at M-Sport in 2012, working with the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team.

"Over the last two years, Ford Racing and the Fiesta have made a significant impact in the AWD Open class of RallyCar's Rally America, at X Games and in the debut of RallyCross," said JB Niday, Managing Director of RallyCar.

"To see that emphasis expand into the 2WD class with an opportunity like the Fiesta SportTrophy Championship is a tremendous indicator of the value placed on the Fiesta programme and the commitment to growing Fiesta through rally by Ford," he added.

The Fiesta R2 forms part of Ford's ladder designed to take competitors from the grass roots level of rallying to the WRC.

"Not only are we offering rally enthusiasts a way to experience the full capabilities of Fiesta, but we're also giving them an amazing opportunity to test their skills in Europe on their way to perhaps realising a dream of competing in the WRC," said Allison.

Ford Fiesta R2 in WRC Academy

The Ford Fiesta R2 three-door rally car will also be the single-make car used in the WRC Academy next season. The six-round Academy is a brand new feeder series to the FIA World Rally Championship and is designed to provide a cost-effective first step onto the WRC ladder for the stars of tomorrow.

"We have been delighted with the response that we have received to the Fiesta R2 since its launch in 2009," said Malcolm Wilson, managing director of M-Sport. "Along with the Ford Fiesta S2000, the Fiesta R2 provides an important opportunity for rally competitors to graduate from grass roots level to WRC using Ford vehicles. R2 class wins have been frequent across Europe and, indeed, at the majority of WRC events.

-source: ford