M-Sport plans huge Ford Fiesta World Rally Car upgrade for 2015

M-Sport team principal Malcolm Wilson has described the overhaul planned for the Ford Fiesta RS World Rally Car in 2015 as the biggest in its history

M-Sport plans huge Ford Fiesta World Rally Car upgrade for 2015

Wilson promised no area of the car will be left untouched as M-Sport looks to end a winless spell that now stretches back more than two years.

The heavily revised Fiesta will break cover on the Rally of Portugal in May.

"The chassis remains the same with the new car, but the whole heart of the car is new," said Wilson.

"These will be the biggest changes we've made to the car since we introduced it in 2011."

A completely new engine is being readied at M-Sport's Cumbrian headquarters - the first time the two-time world champion team has developed the motor for its WRC challenger completely in-house.

The 2015 Fiesta is already up and running and while Wilson admitted to a small delay, he remains confident the car will be ready in time for Portugal.

"The engine has done a lot on the dyno," said Wilson. "We're just a little behind on the installation work, but the car's running a lot at Greystoke, so we're not too concerned at all."

Wilson did concede that his drivers Elfyn Evans and Ott Tanak are set to struggle against the upgraded factory Volkswagen and Citroen on the opening rounds, starting with Monte Carlo this week.

"We will probably be a little bit behind," said Wilson. "It might be difficult until we get our new engine and our new car for Portugal."

HIGH HOPES FOR NEW HYUNDAI

Hyundai has confirmed that its all-new i20 WRC will not appear until the second half of 2015, though lead driver Thierry Neuville is expecting a huge step forward when it does appear.

The team starts the Monte with an improved version of last year's i20, which will continue to be developed until its replacement arrives.

"Everything is new for the new car," said Nandan. "But the work we are doing with this car will still help us.

"For example, we wouldn't have found the improvements we have coming to the engine if we hadn't run the current car.

Neuville believes the new i20 will make Hyundai a contender for victory on every rally.

"We had one learning year where we have seen many positive things, but this year we have do better," said the 2014 Rally Germany winner

"We have to raise the target. The new car should be the car to start winning events on a regular basis and be able to be on the podium on every event."

FOLLOW THE 2015 WRC OPENER WITH AUTOSPORT:

Comprehensive preview package in the January 22 issue of AUTOSPORT magazine

Follow the Monte Carlo Rally as it happens with Race Centre Live on AUTOSPORT.com from 6.45pm UK time on Thursday evening

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