M-Sport World Rally Team will run its latest specification engine for the first time in competition at next month’s Rally Croatia.
The Ford Fiesta WRC’s upgraded engine has been talked about for the last year and was expected to make its maiden appearance at Rally Argentina last season.
A pandemic-enforced evolving 2020 calendar meant engine pairings changed for rallies and M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson was unwilling to shelve engines with life left in them to deliver the upgrades.
The engine is a good step. There’s more power there, more at the top endMalcolm Wilson
Now, however, the time has come.
“The engine is a good step,” Wilson told DirtFish. “The work has focused mainly on the fuel injection system and on the cylinder head.
“There’s more power there, more at the top end, but I’m certainly not going to start talking numbers with you. Put it this way, the drivers are very happy.”
The new engine has been used in the Fiesta WRC test car at the pre-event for both Monte Carlo and last month’s Arctic Rally Finland.
Teemu Suninen said: “It feels good, you can feel the difference with the power – it was nice to have this in the test, but it will be really nice to have it in the rally.”
Suninen won’t use the Fiesta WRC in Zagreb next month as Adrien Fourmaux will take his place for the season’s first all-asphalt qualifier.
The engines from this year’s World Rally Cars are being taken forward by the teams as the base motor for the next generation of hybrid Rally1 cars starting from 2022.
Despite the advances in performance, Wilson confirmed this latest specification of engine won’t be the final word on Ford power for 2022.
“There’s more to come,” he said. “The homologation cut-off is July so, yes, there’s still some work to be done on this engine – still some significant internal work coming.
“I’d say what we have now is half the work we have planned for what will be our base engine for the rest of this season and moving forward into that Rally1 era.”