YPRES, Belgium - Fresh from their best ever result in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul are ready and eager to take to the stages of the Geko Ypres Rally as part of the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) this weekend. Swapping their Ford Fiesta RS WRC – with which they secured second place at Rally Italia Sardegna – for the all-new Ford Fiesta R5, the pairing will be the first to put M-Sport’s latest challenger through its competitive paces.
Contesting their home event as a VIP car, this will be the Fiesta R5’s first public appearance on a timed stage, and who better to showcase the car’s potential? This will be Neuville’s fifth venture to the specialist event, and having finished on the podium back in 2010, M-Sport’s latest protégé is the perfect candidate to show exactly what the Fiesta R5 is capable of.
Based on the new 1.6-litre EcoBoost-engined Ford Fiesta ST road car, the Fiesta R5 forms the latest step on Ford and M-Sport’s ‘Ladder of Opportunity’. As a complete departure from the firm’s previous projects, ninety per cent of the car has been designed and manufactured from scratch making it the first in a new generation of rally cars.
Providing the perfect transition from two to four-wheel drive competition, the all-new Fiesta R5 is ideal for those keen to progress and M-Sport’s challenger will be the first of its kind to be available for purchase. With 18 deposits already placed, it is likely that the first models will be ready to roll off the workshop floor before the end of this month.