It was an Ecoboost-powered Fiesta Rally4 1-2-3 earlier this month at the second round of the FIA European Rally Championship as Ken Torn and Kauri Pannas took their second 2020 ERC3 and ERC3 Junior victory on Rally Liepāja.
M-Sport Poland built machines dominated all three positions of the podium, making history as the first Rally4 car to do so on a major international event.
The domination for the Polish built cars continued as a 2019 Fiesta R2T took fourth place, showing the strong DNA that the new Rally4 version of the car was built on.
It was a strong performance across the whole rally for the M-Sport built cars as they set the fastest time in every timed session; Martins Sesks and Renars Francis pushed Torn and Pannas throughout the opening day as they fought for the top spot.
There was more of the same on the Sunday as they continued to trade positions, separated by a mere 1.1 seconds at the end of stage eight.
Unfortunately for Sesks stage nine would see them drop out of the battle for the lead as they damaged the front of the car on a jump. The crew managed to continue to take second place on the stage but were forced to retire on the road section due to radiator damage.
Torn and Pannas took the victory by 49.8 seconds ahead of Dennis Rådström and Johan Johansson who claimed a strong second place finish on their first visit to Liepāja. Latvian Rallycross star Reinis Nitišs claimed the final podium spot with co-driver Andris Mālnieks on their first international event since switching to rally.
With another top score Torn and Pannas now hold a 34-point advantage over Rådström and Johansson.
“I cannot think of a better or more deserving result for our fantastic Fiesta Rally4, locking out the podium and taking the fastest time on every stage in ERC3 including qualifying and practice!” explained Maciej Woda, M-Sport Poland Team Director.
“Ken and Kauri have once again proved themselves to be a cut above the rest and delivering exactly what was needed to take victory. Martins and Renars really showed some great speed on Liepaja too which makes the return of the Junior WRC Championship in Estonia a very exciting prospect.
“I am really happy to see Dennis and Johan finish on the podium too, after a puncture cost them everything in Rome, they have proven their raw pace here in Liepaja.
“We have gone from being locked down at home to locking down the podium on the Fiesta Rally4’s second international outing in the space of only a couple of months.
“This result is a resounding endorsement for all of the hard work and effort by the team in Kraków that were working flat out behind the scenes since we started development on the Rally4 car.
“We are seeing the rewards now and so too are our customers, with Reinis Nitiss taking his first ERC podium in his Fiesta Rally4.”
Ken Torn added, “We are happy to win, this morning was quite tough and I didn’t think it would be our day but step by step it got better and ended really nice. We did it again and won the rally, everything was brilliant, the M-Sport Poland Fiesta Rally4 was working well and we were really happy with our driving. We are really thankful to the team and our sponsors who helped us to get here, we enjoyed the weekend a lot.”
Dennis Rådström was upbeat despite a mixed weekend on his first visit to the rally, “We had a really good weekend in the Fiesta Rally4 car, some ups and downs for me with my driving.
“It is my first time here and there is a lot to learn, we span too much on some junctions and lacked confidence. Martins and Ken were really flying this weekend, but we scored some really good points here and next year we will be more confident.”