Ford’s Fiesta Rally3 has just received homologation into the FIA’s Rally3 Category, thus enabling the car to make its official debut on the World Rallying stage.
The Fiesta is the very first car in the third Tier of the Rallying Pyramid to receive homologation. M-Sport Poland will debut the car in the WRC at Rally Croatia (22-25 April).
The car itself has already taken to Rally stages at the hands of Driver Ken Torn and Co-Driver Timo Taniel at the SM O.K. Auto-Ralli in Finland earlier this month. The pair finished the event in a respectable eleventh place.
The Rally3 category sits in the middle of the five tier World Rallying pyramid structure and joins WRC and WRC2 Cars as an all-wheel-drive category. The category sits above the two-wheel-drive cars of Rally4 and Rally5. The aim is to provide a cost-effective and practical introduction to all-wheel-drive Rallying for emerging young drivers.
The Fiesta Rally3 boasts a 1.5 Litre Turbocharged EcoBoost engine emitting 215 BHP with a five speed sequential gearbox and is capable of 100 kmh in five-seconds from a standing start.
The car has been thoroughly put through its paces in testing, covering 5000 km at the hands of several drivers including: Nil Solans, Kajetan Kajetanowicz, Matthew Wilson, Torn, Egon Kaur and Tom Kristensson. The challenges in developing the car were brought to light when M-Sport Poland Director Maciej Woda had this to say;
“It’s a very daunting task designing and building a totally new car for an equally new category as there is no reference point for anybody to use. That is what made creating the Fiesta Rally3 exciting, but it also made us push ourselves in every aspect to ensure no stone was left unturned.”
The importance of such a debut should not be understated, after all this is a brand new category and Ford are taking the plunge by being the first to try their hand at Rally3. This is a sentiment echoed by M-Sport Managing Director Malcom Wilson;
“Sustainable and cost-effective cars are needed now more than ever in order to ensure smooth progression for drivers and also for those looking to compete in four-wheel drive machinery with lower running costs,” he added.
“Undoubtedly, we will see more manufacturers join which I am really looking forward to. Fundamentally it is competition that motivates us and we want to see a thrilling fight on the stages in the Rally3 category.”
Time will tell whether the Fiesta Rally3 and the Rally3 Category itself are a success, but for now the Rallying community await its debut in Croatia with earnest and intrigue.
Want to know more about the Fiesta Rally3? Read Steven Batey’s coverage of the car’s unveiling right here on The Checkered Flag!