M-Sport Poland is set to introduce updates to its Ford Fiesta Rally4 , particularly on the driveshaft, as it bids to re-establish itself in the two-wheel-drive category.
The Fiesta Rally4 was used as the single model in the Junior World Rally Championship, run centrally by M-Sport Poland, in 2020-21.
However, since the JWRC switched to the four-wheel-drive Fiesta Rally3 last year, the Peugeot 208 and Renault Clio have dominated Rally4. A Fiesta has won the class at only two WRC events – Rally Sweden and Rally Estonia last year.
“Looking at the market, for sure we lost a little bit of the spot on Rally4 for a number of reasons,” M-Sport Poland’s managing director Maciej Woda told DirtFish.
“First of all, obviously we’re not running the Rally4 cars in the world championship so we’re not showing the pace of the cars that well.
“Second of all, for sure the perception is the bigger engine is always faster even if they have a restrictor. And yeah, you go to places like very grippy Tarmac, uphill and so on and for sure Renault will be benefiting from the bigger engine.”
The Fiesta Rally4 uses a one-liter three-cylinder engine while its rivals have four cylinder units.
“But then you look on Estonia, Finland where you need a stable car on good suspension and everyone’s winning in Fiesta Rally4,” Woda added.
“We are still seeing Fiesta Rally4 as a very important car for M-Sport Poland, we are still developing the car. We actually just came back from Sardinia where we spent four days of development, so we’re still pushing with Rally4.”
That rough gravel testing, conducted by teenaged rising star Hubert Laskowski, focused on M-Sport’s improvements to a recognized weak spot in the Fiesta with a “completely different design” to the driveshafts ahead of homologation in the near future.
“It’s not a secret that a bit of a weak side of the Fiesta Rally4 is the driveshaft,” admitted Woda. “So we’ve actually been trying to improve them for the last year. We spent quite a lot of money on testing and development parts and now we went to a very, let’s say, drastic change.
“We went to Sardinia because we either test in Sardinia or Portugal when we are testing driveshafts, and we’ve been four days on the same road, up and down, without any repairs so it was tough.
“We had a young Polish driver, Hubert Laskowski, who is only 17 and honestly he’s done an amazing job so it was definitely worth giving him a chance.
“This was a very successful test so we are looking to homologate them very shortly and implement them to the cars. Hopefully it will again raise an interest in Fiesta Rally4.”