"Of all the working class heroes that have been produced by Ford’s of Dagenham - the Fiesta is the longest surviving. It may not be the most spectacular or glamorous inheritor of the company’s blue collar legacy - "
The ultimate choice in Ford Fiesta circles – Fiesta WRC
How much Fiesta is actually in Ford's Fiesta WRC?
There’s about as much Fiesta in the Fiesta WRC as there is egg in a Koenigsegg.
Despite that, there’s enough of an excuse to shoehorn it into our Ford Fiesta edition.
Ignoring one-off drag stars and the odd Rallycross mutant (both of which are designed to last barely a few minutes of competition before re-fettling) the WRC is about as potent as Fiesta-ing gets. The latest incarnation may not the most successful car in World Rally over the last year, but is still wedging silverware into already-heaving trophy cabinets courtesy of exotic-named superstars like Mads Østberg, Ott Tanak and Martin Prokop.
The Fiesta WRC boasts lots of stuff you’d want on your Top Trumps card:
300bhp and 450Nm of torque shouting its way out of a 1.6 EcoBoost.
A purchase price in keeping with that of a decent house.
0-60 sprint times in supercar territory – even on wet mud.
But, in the world of motorsport, it’s all about the pace and so being able to shift a 1200kg hatchback across Swedish snow, through Finnish lake land, Welsh forests and South American dirt quicker than your rivals is what it’s all about.
If it makes a lot of noise in the process and looks like it was designed by someone needing to use up lots of spare plastic, then all the better. Put some colourful sponsor logos all over it and the shouty little tike can draw the crowds, hopefully enchanting the onlookers with its sideways dance.
According to the “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” theory, the crowd will fall in love with the car – especially when it shares a name with car they’ll drive on the way back home, or the car that 200-year-old guy down the road with paint-chipped gnomes in his garden washes every Sunday, or the car you saw your yoga instructor furtively ordering a Bargain Bucket from late one night – and they’ll hopefully go on to (or continue to) choose Ford, continuing to make the Fiesta Britain’s most popular car. If not, it might at least encourage you to buy a baseball cap with the blue oval logo and a few other sponsors on, or accept being force-fed the logo when watching some footy on a Monday night.
The current Fiesta model has been the canvas for the WRC version for over five years now, with an update to the rally car in 2014 and 2015. In that time, Citroën and Volkswagen – and now Hyundai too – have stopped the Fiesta grabbing all the trophies. With a change to the rules for 2017, it could seem that this version of the Fiesta might just get an extra lease of life despite getting a tad long in the tooth. And, with hashtag dieselgate now affecting VAG’s motorsport programme and the announcement that the dominant VW Polo will not appear in 2017, it could mean there’s more life and success left in the Fiesta WRC yet.
Top-end motorsport teams can seem a bit cagey about expressing their tech spec, but the rally world is less opaque than the circuit racing one. M-Sport happily lists the anatomy of their 2016 challenger, looking somewhat like you’ve accidentally ticked ‘select all’ on a list of optional sporting upgrades. Emotive brands like Cosworth and Garrett continue their habit of popping up beside Ford. The site goes on to invite you to talk to them about ordering your own competitive World Rally Car. I dare you to ring up and feel totally inadequate as a driver – I’d like to say I rang posing as a potential WRC star and tell you how the conversation went, but I didn’t as I’ve got better things to do and I’m sure they have too.
What the Fiesta WRC shows, though, is that having a Fiesta(-ish) body shell and an engine born from a standard EcoBoost is enough to call itself a Fiesta. So it shares Google Image space alongside gnome-bloke’s sensible EcoBoosted safety cell. This halo effect is intended to make the Fiesta brand more appealing to potential buyers. Buying a Fiesta on that basis, though, is a bit like buying David Beckham’s aftershave and then thinking you’re now slightly more like a captain of the England football team – and, although clearly untrue, that product seems to sell rather well. Marketing, hey?
M-sport also sells used cars (none for sale right now)… let’s assume these used cars will have been given a thorough service before being sold on to new owners. After all, these cars are designed to be road-legal and driven from stage to stage on public roads. It’ll inevitably go to a team keen to make their way into the highest level of World Rally but, if your pockets are deep enough, could an ex-World Rally competitor bring unprecedented amounts of kudos down at your local car meet – blatting between Drive Thru restaurants and tyre-smoke-filled car-accessory retailer car parks? The ultimate in hot hatch one-upmanship?
Yeah, certainly. But hopefully anyone buying one of these will be rather more interested in sector times and bucket seats than Snapchat views and Bucket meals.
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