M-Sport reveals 1.5-liter engine plan for Rally3

More details of M-Sport's latest rally car have been revealed – and there's a surprise under the hood

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M-Sport Poland’s groundbreaking Ford Fiesta Rally3 will run an all-new 1.5-liter turbocharged engine when it arrives in January.

The world’s first four-wheel drive Rally3 car will be powered by the 197bhp EcoBoost unit found in the Fiesta ST road car. The original expectation had been that it would follow the one-litre route from the Fiesta Rally4.

The FIA took the decision to broaden the original Rally3 regulations to allow for cars from one liter to 1.6 – with power outputs equalized and regulated via the turbo’s restrictor.

These changes in rules governing which engines can be used in what’s increasingly seen as a vital class for domestic rallying – as well as the progression through the World Rally Championship – are the reason the Fiesta Rally3 began its testing programme later than planned.

The Fiesta Rally3 is in the middle of an intensive asphalt and gravel test schedule in Poland. The car is expected to continue with more rough road running next month.

M-Sport Poland managing director Maciek Woda told DirtFish: “When it became clear we could make the change from the one-liter engine, we were keen to work with Ford on that. This three-cylinder, turbocharged engine just gives us that bit more torque – which is great for a four-wheel drive car.”

The standard torque figure from the Fiesta ST road car is 214lb-ft (290Nm).

“The engine has worked really well,” said Woda. “We are very happy with the way the testing’s going. We’re gathering good and useful data and having no major problems.”