M-Sport has started testing its latest Ford Fiesta – the all-new Rally3.
Rally3 is the FIA’s newest four-wheel drive category, with that transmission mated to a 210bhp engine and sold for a price capped €100,000.
M-Sport Poland, the Krakow-based arm of Malcolm Wilson’s British firm, began work on the car last year, with a testing programme underway in Poland and Sardinia earlier this season.
Former Junior WRC champion Nil Solans and WRC 3 competitor Kajetan Kajetanowicz are doing much of the testing on the car, which will be delivered for sale on January 1.
“We took the car to Sardinia for some hot and rough gravel running in the summer,” said M-Sport Poland managing director Maciek Woda. “We wanted to put the car under some real stress. We did around 1000km with Nil and Kajto in that initial five days and there were only a few small issues.”
Since then there has been more testing, including asphalt running for the car which features similar Sadev transmission to the Rally4 car deployed in Junior WRC – albeit with an extra pair of driveshafts and a rear differential.
The engine is, however, quite different with the latest 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder unit from the current Fiesta ST road car fitted instead of the one-litre version deployed in the Rally4 Fiesta.
Woda added: “When it became clear we could make the change from the one-litre 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 engine has worked really well. We already have a lot of information and data gathered that this car is going to sit really nicely between Rally4 and Rally2.
“Honestly, it’s a brilliant car. To have a four-wheel drive car with around 210bhp is something we have been pushing for for some time and it’s great to be able to be the first to deliver on this latest level of the FIA’s pyramid.”