FORD IS FINALISING preparations for the introduction of its Fiesta rally car, releasing images from a test it conducted at an airfield in Cumbria.
The company is developing the car to replace the Focus as its World Rally Championship challenger in 2011, although an S2000 variant is expected to be run by customer teams in the WRC-aligned Super 2000 cup next year
Although exact details of the car?s specifications haven?t been revealed, S2000 rules permit four-wheel drive but ban supercharged engines, providing an insight into Fiesta?s final performance figures.
Ford M-Sport Technical Director Christian Loriaux has revealed the car is on track to be completed on schedule, stating he is delighted at the progress so far.
He said: "This is a totally new car and the entire design and engineering team here have been very focused on providing both a reliable and very competitive car for our customers.
"A brand new rally car involves thousands of parts and making sure that they are all designed, manufactured and delivered on time is an incredible achievement and takes a lot of team work.
?Our production and purchasing departments have done a great job in supporting the design team and ensuring the car was completed on time."
Ford World Rally Team boss Malcolm Wilson said he was pleased with the development, stating the car will provide a strong platform for the company?s next WRC car.
?The production of a new rally car is always an exciting period for everyone at M-Sport and I'm pleased to see that Christian and his team have finished the build on schedule as planned,? he said.
?The important thing now is that we undertake a strong test and development campaign in order to provide our customers with the best possible S2000 package.?
A variant of the current Ford Fiesta has already competed at the elite level, contesting rounds of the FIA European Rallycross Championship.
The car, a wide-bodied race version of Ford?s baby hatchback, was produced by Swedish rally outfit MSE/Ford TeamRS and featured a 2.0 litre Duratec turbo four engine running on E85 ethanol fuel, producing 410kw (550hp) of power and 820Nm of torque at 6400rpm.