M-Sport has made "good progress" with 2022 Rally1 WRC car

M-Sport Ford engineers made “good progress” with the development of their hybrid-powered 2022 World Rally Champion car during a recent exercise outside the UK, team owner Malcolm Wilson has said.

M-Sport has made "good progress" with 2022 Rally1 WRC car

It ran to 2022-specification, with Matthew Wilson – M-Sport’s recognised test driver – collecting data on the electric-motor and batteries.

Team protege Adrien Fourmaux – who impressed on his top-flight debut at Rally Croatia – was also handed the chance to sample the heavily camouflaged Fiesta.

The Cumbrian squad was the first WRC team to fire up its Rally1 mule, with initial running taking place around Greystoke Forest in March before test work intensified at the end of April in northern Spain.

“We were running in Spain with the full rig – the previous running we have done in Greystoke, we did so without the hybrid system,” said Wilson, who insists the recent decision by former head designer Christian Loriaux to join Hyundai Motorsport after an eighteen-year spell at Dovenby Hall will not hold up the project.

“Spain was quite successful. I am happy. We made a lot of progress, but there is still work to do."

The new hybrid kit – which is supplied by Compact Dynamics and comprises a 134bhp e-motor, and a battery pack that is stored in the boot – pushes the total weight of a Rally1 car up by 100kg.

Having been debriefed after the latest test, Wilson claimed strategy will intensify for WRC drivers and co-drivers when the technology enters service in 10 months’ time at Rallye Monte-Carlo.

As well as enabling crews to complete liaison sections emission free by using the energy stored in the battery, this can also be drawn on to give them a power boost during a stretch of special stage.

M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC Rally1

M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC Rally1

Photo by: M-Sport

When used in tandem, the petrol engine and electric motor will deliver power of around 500bhp.

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“It is certainly going to be challenging – interesting, even – for the drivers and how they deploy it and when they regen [recharge the battery] and use it. It is going to put more pressure on the drivers – probably even on the crew – as to when is actually best to take advantage of it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Loriaux confirmed the reason he left M-Sport Ford came down to the fact he was “not in charge of the [WRC] program anymore” and “was not involved with everything” Rally1-related.

He said the chance to oversee a well-funded, factory-backed title assault “was a dream ticket” for him.

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