Fiesta R2 proves its popularity on European tour
The all new Fiesta R2 is reaching the halfway point of its tour of Europe, recently stopping in Spain, Slovenia and Italy, where the car was demonstrated to keen groups of media and rally drivers alike.

The Fiesta R2 has been designed to replace the hugely successful Fiesta ST rally car. The new vehicle is targeted at competitors in the Fiesta SportTrophy series, as well as in regional rally championship. The knowledge gained from the development of the GpN Fiesta ST and the world-title winning Ford Focus RS WRC has been transferred to the creation of the Fiesta R2 under the leadership of M-Sport’s Principal Engineer Chris Williams, who was also responsible for the design of the Fiesta ST.

Following events in Belgium and Poland in June, the M-Sport-designed Fiesta R2 began the second leg of its European tour in Spain, where journalists joined ex-Ford WRC driver Markko Märtin for the car’s first overseas Tarmac test. The Estonian driver put the car through its paces in Vic where both the driver and passengers were impressed by the pace of the new vehicle.

With FST International Shootout winner Matthias Boon back at the wheel in Slovenia, the Fiesta R2 was demonstrated at the Blagomix Kart circuit in Logatec. The R2 was the centre of attention on the mixed gravel and Tarmac surface and 28 passengers, including the Slovenian candidate for Miss Universe, Mirela Korac, were given an experience of the car’s performance.From Slovenia the R2 tour made the short journey to Italy and the Quattrorute Test Track near Pavia, just south of Milan. Boon took the wheel again to give 20 satisfied journalists a spin on the Tarmac circuit.

The Fiesta R2 will embark on the next leg of the European tour at the end of July when it will visit Neste Oil Rally Finland before making stops in Estonia and Latvia, Sweden, Austria, Germany, France, the UK and Ireland during the month of August.

The five-speed Fiesta R2 rally car is based on the Ford Fiesta Sport (Zetec S in the UK and Ireland) using the 1.6L Ti-Vct 120PS (1598cc) base engine as in regular production. It is built from a standard conversion kit developed by M-Sport.

The kit to convert the car to rally specification includes engine parts to increase the engine performance. The gearbox has been replaced for a sequential shift unit with a limited slip differential, along with upgraded brakes and Reiger suspension. Beyond these specific items, the intention is for the car to use many standard components from the Ford Fiesta and other Ford road vehicles to reduce costs for the competitor. Ex-Ford WRC driver Markko Märtin said:
“It is the first time I have driven this car and, although it is a small car, the truth is that it is very fast and fun to drive. It is light and has 163PS and good torque. It is 120kg lighter than the previous GpN Fiesta ST and has brakes that allow you to brake later without any problem. The Reiger suspension works very well and the car is very stable with good traction and very little understeer. The sequential Sadev gearbox with five gears works very well and it’s possible to change gear with your foot down.”

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