McKenna wins appeal into Fiesta WRC’s ARA legality

The defending champion competed the 100AW Rally under appeal because of his new car's aerodynamics


Defending American Rally Association presented by DirtFish National Champion Barry McKenna has won an appeal to keep using his latest generation Ford Fiesta WRC in the American championship.

McKenna contested the second round of the series – the 100 Acre Wood Rally in March – under appeal as the aggressive aerodynamic package on his Fiesta fell into a grey area in the rulebook for cars in the Open 4WD class.

The Irishman finished third overall, having led until a costly puncture on the second day, but risked having his championship points annulled had he lost the appeal. However, he was granted a 45-day reprieve by United States Auto Club (USAC) – which sanctions the ARA – to review his case which has now proved successful.

The arguments presented by McKenna Motorsports centered around the lack of definition and meanings of the technical rules in regard to bodywork modifications allowed and aerodynamic enhancements. The appellate court, comprised of FIA officials and a leading aerodynamic engineer, agreed the technical rules lacked definition to effectively govern bodywork modifications.

The appeal panel issued a recommendation for ARA to further define body modifications rules, citing lack of definition and general descriptions found in the rulebook.

Preston Osborn, ARA competition director, said: “The current rules are intended to limit aero capabilities and enhance course safety, but may lack definition. As rally racing in the United States evolves, a major overhaul of the bodywork rules and aerodynamics is critical.


“The potential complexity of aero allowances means we need to consider development and testing costs for competitors, as we address the bodywork rules for the 2022 season.”

ARA stated that the current latitude given to competitors should be a guide for the 2021 season. ARA is working on the bodywork rule updates for the 2022 season and anticipate information to be released to competitors in early fall.

With the rules changing for 2022, a car accepted within the 2021 regulations does not guarantee it will be compliant under the new 2022 bodywork and aerodynamic rules.