PARIS, France - In this its fourth year, the Monte Carlo Rally for Alternative Energy Vehicles has become one of the premier competitions organised for vehicles which most respect the environment. Winner in its category last year and first in the classification for brands, the Ecurie Ford France team is to defend its title by entering two Focus ECOnetics and one Fiesta ECOnetic, models which are well known for their impressive fuel economy and low emissions.
The "VEA" Monte-Carlo Rally is the opening round of the FIA International Cup which continues to grow in popularity: from 36 entries in 2007, to 94 taking part in the 2009 Monte-Carlo VEA!
The Ford Focus and Fiesta ECOnetic compete in the category for fossil fuel-powered cars emitting less than 120 grams of CO2 per km. In 2009, the Fiestas entered by the Ecurie Ford France, in association with Drive Classic, took first, second and fourth place in a class which had no fewer than 28 participants. Ford also came in first in the classification by brand and won the regularity event. This demonstration of advanced technologies employed by Ford in the area of energy saving and clean burning vehicles could not have been more convincing.
This year, 2009 winners Pascal and Stéphanie Aimé will return to defend their title, alongside Alain Jongerlynck and "Greg", 2nd in 2008 and 2009 in the two Ford ECOnetic models.
Following the traditional technical and administrative verifications, the 4th Monte-Carlo Rally VEA will begin on Friday, March 26th with a concentration route starting simultaneously in three different cities: Lugano (Switzerland), Clermont-Ferrand and Annecy-le-Vieux (France).
Just like in the ‘Monte’ heydays this route will be followed by a Common leg and a Final leg that will see the competitors battle around the world famous Col de Turini on the Saturday evening. The rally will end on Sunday March 28th at the Monaco Harbour.
“Ford has a very long history with the Monte Carlo Rally”, said Ford France managing director, Jean-Luc Gérard. “The Focus WRC and most recently the Fiesta S2000 have starred. What is interesting about the VEA event is the idea of competing with production based cars that our customers can drive every day.”
The Focus ECOnetic and Fiesta ECOnetic are powered by the same Duratorq 1.6-litre TDCi engine with 90 brake horsepower for the Fiesta and 109bhp for the Focus.
The ECOnetic models are built to deliver impressive CO2 emissions and fuel economy performance while still being pleasant to drive, thanks in large part to their engines and road handling qualities. These assets are important for putting in a strong performance on the Monte-Carlo VEA, where the challenge is to maintain an imposed average speed while consuming as little fuel as possible.
“The average speed must remain constant from the start until the finish line. It is a difficult driving exercise. You can not cheat on the qualities of the car”, says driver and team leader in the Drive Classic team, Alain Jongerlynck. “If fuel economy is to be exemplary, so also must the handling of the car.”
3.91 litres per 100kms on average in the 2009 Monte Carlo
The Fiesta ECOnetic, which boasts one of the lowest emission levels in its segment with only 98 grams of CO2 per km, develops 90 horsepower, accelerates from 0 to 100km/h in 12.3 seconds and has a top speed of 178km/h on the test track. Fuel consumption is 3.7-litres per 100km in mixed usage. Last year, this model succeeded in remaining under the 4-litre per 100km bar, (3.91 litres for the car driven by Alain Jongerlynck) for the entire Monte-Carlo, a remarkable achievement on such a mountainous route where average speeds are difficult to maintain.
In the 109bhp version equipped with the Ford Auto-Start-Stop system, the Ford Focus ECONETIC consumes 3.8-litres per 100km and averages 99 grams of CO2 emissions per km and can reach a top speed of 191km/h on the test track. On sale since the start of the year, the Focus ECONETIC is the first Ford of Europe model equipped with the Ford Auto-Start-Stop system, Smart Regenerative Charging, Ford Eco Mode and Low Tension FEAD (Front End Accessory Drive)
The high-performance and frugal Fiestas and Focus ECOnetics symbolise Ford’s extensive research and development work in terms of better respecting the environment. Ford’s role in developing long term solutions isn’t only applied to automobile technologies, but can also be found in the organisation of the company and its production sites. All of the electricity at Ford’s Diesel Centre in Dagenham, England, which builds the Duratorq TDCi engines, is wind generated. Renewable energies are also used to produce electricity for the Fiesta factory and engineering centre in Cologne, Germany.