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FORD'S NEW RALLY CHALLENGER LAUNCHES AT
2005 BOLOGNA MOTOR SHOW
BOLOGNA , ITALY , 1 December, 2005
Ford of Europe today officially unveiled the all-new Ford Focus
RS World Rally Car 06 at the Bologna Motor Show in Italy . The
car will be Ford's challenger in the FIA World Rally Championship
from 2006 onwards and was unveiled in the eye-catching livery in
which it will make its full competitive debut in January's Monte
It is based on the high-performance Ford
Focus ST road car, which is being launched across Europe this
autumn. The new Focus RS WRC 06 has been designed and built in
less than 11 months by an experienced and innovative engineering
team led by Christian Loriaux, technical director at British-based
company M-Sport which operates the Blue Oval's WRC programme. His
team has worked closely in the development with Ford TeamRS, Ford
of Europe's performance road car and motorsport arm.
Just over 12 months ago in Brussels , Ford
of Europe announced a four-year commitment to the World Rally
Championship, confirming the sport as the company's primary
motorsport activity. A key aspect of that agreement was the
introduction of an all-new Focus RS WRC based on the new-generation
road car. It continues a family tradition that has seen the model
provide the backbone of Ford's motorsport activity since 1999.
The all-new rally car unveiled in Bologna
this morning will be driven in the 2006 championship by double
world champions Marcus Grönholm and Timo Rautiainen and fellow
Finns Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen.
"Twelve months ago Ford carried out a
long and comprehensive review into the motorsport scene and the
company's involvement in it," said Jost Capito, Director of
Ford TeamRS. "It showed there was a strong business case for
Ford's continued involvement and proposals from the sport's
governing body to reduce the costs of competing in the WRC
encouraged us to continue long-term."
Capito added: "What we have unveiled
this morning is Ford's future in the WRC. We have a strong and
experienced team operating from world-class facilities at M-Sport's
Dovenby Hall premises. Now we have the car that we believe will
carry us forward to new levels of competitiveness and a driving
team that is capable of bringing world titles to Ford."
Following in the footsteps of the 2003
Focus RS WRC, the new car incorporates the latest technology and
benefits from pioneering design ideas from Loriaux and his 14-man
M-Sport-based team. They had access to computer-aided design
facilities and shared information and analysis with mainstream
Ford engineers across Europe in their quest to design a winning
The transition from the outgoing rally car
to the new model, which had to be designed with radical
regulation changes for 2006 in mind, required a clean sheet of
paper from the start. The previous model was highly successful in
its own right, but the team worked to a brief that demanded
improvements in key areas such as engine, transmission and
suspension. A crucial priority was to achieve weight savings, an
arduous task as the base model was heavier than the base for the
previous Focus RS WRC and new regulations banned the widespread
use of titanium.
After successful initial testing in
Britain, the team moved to the second level of the car's test and
development programme by taking two cars to last month's Rally
Australia to evaluate it in a competitive environment for the
first time. It was rewarded with victory on two speed tests and a
sixth place finish.
The introduction of the Ford Focus RS WRC
06 presented M-Sport and Ford TeamRS with a string of challenges
and opportunities not only because of the new model
itself, but because in 2006 rallying is introducing a series of
technical changes designed to reduce cost. The design team had to
keep a close eye on these rule changes throughout the 11-month
development of the car.
"Everyone involved in the programme
has worked incredibly long hours to ensure the new Focus RS WRC
met its build targets," said BP-Ford team director Malcolm
Wilson. "It was a tight schedule and we made it even tighter
by taking the decision to test the car on Rally Australia . We're
delighted with the way it performed there and we gained data
which will prove valuable in our preparations for the 2006 season.
"It is unrealistic to expect us to win
a world title next year. The car is too new for that. But I
fervently believe that we will win rallies and lay a solid
platform for a world championship bid in 2007 and 2008. In Marcus
Grönholm and Mikko Hirvonen we have signed two drivers with the
ability to maximise the potential of the Focus RS WRC 06. Behind
the scenes, we have the strongest infrastructure in place at M-Sport,
both in terms of personnel and facilities, since we took over the
programme at the end of 1996 and that gives me the confidence to
predict an extremely bright future," he added.
||Ford 2.0-litre Pipo
built I4 Duratec WRC engine. Four cylinders, 16 valves,
two litres. Pi electronic engine management system.
Garrett turbocharger (with FIA required 34 mm inlet
restrictor). Air intercooler. Catalytic converter.
||300 bhp at 6000 rpm
||550 Nm at 4000 rpm
drive with M-Sport designed active, centre differential.
Pi electronic differential control units. M-Sport /
Ricardo five speed sequential gearbox with electro-hydraulically
controlled shift. M-Sport / Sachs multi disc carbon
||Front and rear:
MacPherson struts (front) and Trailing-Arm (rear) with
Reiger external reservoir dampers, adjustable in bump and
rebound. Fully adjustable fabricated steel links. Front
and rear anti-roll bars. Cast steel uprights. Ceramic
(front and rear): 300mm Brembo ventilated
discs with Brembo four piston monoblock calipers.
(front and rear): 370mm Brembo ventilated
discs with Brembo eight-piston monoblock calipers.
handbrake; Adjustable front / rear bias.
(12:1) rack and pinion. One and a half turns lock to lock.
7in x 15in (magnesium) wheels with BF
Goodrich 650mm tyres.
8in x 18in (magnesium) wheels with BF
Goodrich 650mm tyres.
construction. Unique composite side panels. Welded T45
steel safety roll cage. Aerodynamic rear wing. Unique
front bumper' treatment.
||Full Pi chassis and
engine data acquisition for on-event diagnostics and
||FIA FT3 tank, 94
litre capacity, located centrally.
Width: 1800mm. Wheelbase: 2640mm. Weight: 1230kg minimum.