There were more than 250 of the first generation of the first generation M-Sport Fiesta R5 cars sold. To date, the car has started 7289 events, won more than a quarter of those with almost 800 wins. It has almost 5500 stage wins and can herald titles in the European Rally Championship, British Championship and championships across the world.
But the car has been a little old with newer offerings from Skoda, VW, Citroen taking a little shine off the M-Sport creation.
So at Ypres Rally there was some interest in the new generation car – the Mk2 Fiesta R5.
The car ran untimed as a VIP entry, the first public outing for the machine the M-Sport Fiesta R5 Mk2.
Veteran Eric Camilli was at the wheel, a well-known M-Sport driver and someone coming rapidly called upon for car development. He also helped develop the VW Polo R5. He is one of eight drivers who helped develop the car over 30 days of testing.
The process to test a car though is not an easy one as Camilli explained to RacerViews.
“You have to think about everything you want when you want to drive as fast as you can. You drive on many surfaces. But it is important to predict what you want on every surface. How it will be here, how it will react there, how it will be, how it will be etc. What it will be possible to do. You have to think about a lot,” Camilli said.
It seems that a key part of developing a car is its predictability. Many say it is behind the success of the VW and possibly the new Skoda – it doesn’t surprise you and you feel what it does when you push it.
Camilli is confident that the Ford will reflect this trend.
“With this one it is a progressive car, where you are in breaking and understand the braking points and turn in. You are really connected with the car.
“It is a good car that can go fast everywhere. You feel the confidence when the road is dry or dirty, for example.”
Though pinpointing similarities or differences between this car and the previous generation is difficult, given the new thinking that has gone into the car and the pace of development with the R5 category.
While not exact comparisons, it can show how fast R5s have come on in the last few years. In Corsica 2015, the average winning pace of the R5 was 88.4 km/h (fastest WRC 92.1) while this year the fastest R5 was 97.2km/h (the new generation WRC came in at 102.7). Equally in Ypres, the average pace in 2015 was 106.7km/h vs 2019 at 112.8 km/h.
The pace is much, much faster and the cars reflect that.
But what is the biggest difference that Camilli can point to?
“There is a lot of difference, it is not the same car. The power of the engine is very, very good.”
Any comparisons to the VW and other cars, and Camilli comes very tight lipped. But there is a good chance that the car is good enough to fight at the front of the R5 pack and give the marque a few more championships.
“It is a different concept to the VW. For me it is difficult to say one is better than another, I developed both and really like both.”
Whatever the case, the car looks mega on stage. If you search for it on YouTube, you will hear a great engine note, and come the car’s official debut in Estonia, it could come a favourite again for both driver and fan.
The RacerViews info
By Sam Tickell
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