WRC

M-Sport yet to decide on name for Rally1 WRC car

A decision has still to be reached on the nameplate that will underpin M-Sport’s hybrid-equipped Rally1 WRC car from 2022, as discussions on the subject continue with Ford.

On Tuesday, the British squad released a selection of images of its Rally1 prototype running as a Fiesta on tarmac and gravel.

These shots also revealed the FIA’s newly-designed safety cell – another key element of the upcoming rules cycle that is centred around plug-in hybrid technology.

Since then, videos have emerged on social media of the car performing gravel testing in Spain, with Matthew Wilson driving.

The Fiesta has been in service since 2011, with the Fiesta RS WRC being replaced by the Fiesta WRC in 2017 to coincide with the current rules.

The supermini’s standout seasons came in 2017 and 2018 with Sebastien Ogier driving, the Frenchman steering it to six victories and a total of nine top-three finishes on his way to consecutive drivers' crowns.

However, Team Principal Richard Millener told Autosport at least one other option besides the Fiesta is being considered for next season.

While he would not be drawn on which model could replace it, a shift in buying tastes among European motorists makes a small crossover a possibility.

“There are still some discussions in terms of what is best,” he said.

M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC Rally1

Photo by: M-Sport

“As we start to test outside the UK in the coming months there will, I am sure, be some photos appearing, so I will leave it to them at the moment because it is easier than me saying anything that might end up with me getting into trouble.”

Hyundai Motorsport has already settled on the i20 N for its Rally1 project, with Toyota throwing its weight behind the GR Yaris.

Despite all three teams being affected by the recent recall of hybrid systems by its developer Compact Dynamics, M-Sport and Toyota have been able to continue their work.

Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala said prior to last week's Rally Croatia that the Yaris was still "on schedule" to test by summer, despite the recall, while Hyundai boss Andrea Adamo is also confident of the build running to time.

“It is difficult to say when the car will run but when we have more work done, we will then know how and when it will happen,” Adamo said.

“There have been some developmental issues [with the hybrid kits] that I think are pretty normal to have – but I do not foresee too many problems [going forward].”

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