In claiming eight of the top 10 positions with its Fiesta RS World Rally Car on the season-ending Wales Rally GB earlier this month, Ford set a new record in the FIA World Rally Championship.
It was the first occasion since the championship was created in 1973 that a single manufacturer placed eight cars in the top 10 leaderboard – a fitting way for the Fiesta RS WRC to conclude its first world championship campaign.
Of the 10 Fiesta RS WRCs that competed on what is renowned as one of the most demanding rallies of the season, three finished on the podium, ensuring a popular Blue Oval lock-out. Five more scored points by placing inside the top 10.
Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team’s Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila secured victory in spectacular fashion, with Mads Østberg / Jonas Andersson second and Henning Solberg / Ilka Minor third, both from the privately-entered M-Sport Stobart Ford squad.
Behind them, team-mates Matthew Wilson / Scott Martin finished a Rally GB-best in fifth, with Ott Tänak / Kuldar Sikk a career-high sixth to cap an outstanding debut in a Fiesta RS WRC. Evgeny Novikov / Denis Giraudet came home seventh on their first appearance for Ford Abu Dhabi, ahead of FERM Power Tools duo Dennis Kuipers / Frederic Miclotte in eighth and Monster World Rally Team’s Ken Block / Alex Gelsomino in ninth.
The Fiesta RS WRC cavalcade eclipsed the previous record of seven cars from the same manufacturer finishing inside the top 10 of a WRC event, a record that Ford jointly held.
“For Jari-Matti to take his first win of the season already made Rally GB a special weekend. But to set a new WRC record with eight cars inside the top 10, and all of them from the same team makes it even more so,” said Ford Abu Dhabi team director Malcolm Wilson, whose Cumbria-based M-Sport operation prepared and ran all the points-scoring Fiesta RS WRCs.
“Jari-Matti’s performance in winning and the speed and reliability of all eight Fiesta RS WRCs that finished inside the points in GB was tremendously encouraging,” he added.
Ford of Europe motorsport chief Gerard Quinn said the result marked a milestone achievement for Ford in the company’s long and distinguished history in the WRC.
“To have eight Ford Fiesta RS WRCs finish inside the top 10 in Rally GB was a magnificent accomplishment, and only serves to demonstrate the car’s strengths and capabilities. That six of them were privately-entered underlines what a good choice the Fiesta RS WRC is for independent competitors in the series. It was the fruit of a great deal of hard work and commitment by all involved, and I am extremely proud of everybody’s efforts,” he said.