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DEARBORN -- Last year, 100 European-spec Ford Fiestas arrived in North America for the Fiesta Movement. This summer, 43 of the Fiestas will receive a second life as Ford Racing teams up with Team O’Neil Rally School to create the Ford Racing Fiesta Rally Experience in Dalton, N.H.
The Ford Racing Fiesta Rally Experience is the only rally experience offered by a manufacturer in North America and will provide aspiring rally drivers with the opportunity to learn how to drive on a rally course in a Fiesta. The creation of the Ford Racing Fiesta Rally Experience is the latest addition to Ford’s racing experiences with the first being Ford Racing School of High Performance Driving at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.
“Ford Racing Fiesta Rally Experience will provide consumers with the opportunity to experience Fiesta in a true rally environment,” said John Felice, general manager, Ford and Lincoln Marketing. “From learning how to drive high-performance Mustangs on the track at Miller Motorsports to driving a Fiesta on a rally road course at Team O’Neil, these driving schools allow consumers to experience our products in unique and different environments.”
For the Fiesta rally experience, Team O’Neil will modify each production front-wheel-drive Fiesta with a roll bar, rally suspension and off-road tires, and will then feature Fiesta in its Ford Racing Fiesta Rally Experience.
“The opportunity to find a second life for nearly half of the cars from the Fiesta Movement is a way to keep alive the legacy these cars have brought to the Fiesta launch in North America,” said Jamie Allison, director, Ford North America Motorsports. “Fiesta’s nimble driving dynamics and precise handling attributes make it a perfect fit to serve as a rally school car at Team ONeil.”
“Our philosophy at Team O’Neil is to teach drivers how to master front-wheel drive in order to keep speed in the corners, accelerate through the corners, and use the brake to make a turn,” said Tim O’Neil, five-time U.S. and North America rally racing champion. “Fiesta is a strong, light, front-wheel-drive car. The addition of Ford Racing-developed performance parts including an rally suspension, underbody protection and roll bar gives us a great future with these cars.”
Fiesta will be incorporated into Team O’Neil’s one-day Ford Racing Fiesta Rally Experience and two-day Ford Racing Rally School. The classes will introduce students to the fine art of driving a rally car. Aspiring rally drivers learn the left-foot braking technique pro drivers use, and the braking, steering and throttle techniques that allow drivers to slide through corners under control. Beginner students get a chance to ride at “maximum attack” with a Team O’Neil driving instructor on real rally roads, while more advanced students get an opportunity to drive in rally conditions. Additionally, students will have a chance to be in the car as Team O’Neil instructors demonstrate the exciting “Scandinavian flick” or pendulum turn.
The cost per student for the one-day Ford Racing Fiesta Rally Experience is $495, which includes a short classroom session on vehicle dynamics, safety, balance and car control. Most of the day will be spent driving on either the skid pad or slalom course, practicing the techniques of car control rally driving on gravel conditions in a rally-prepared Ford Racing Fiesta.
“The Ford Fiesta has had a memorable rally debut here in the U.S., winning at last year’s X Games and most recently partnering with Ken Block in Rally America,” said Allison. “With this opportunity, who knows if the next Ken Block will start his rally career with a session at Team O’Neil in a Ford Fiesta.”
“Ford has always been very active in the rest of the world as far as rally goes. Driving the Fiesta is like driving an expensive German car. It is the coolest Ford I have ever driven and I have driven almost every Ford product in the world,” said O’Neil. “To grow rally in North America, we need people who want to compete to have access to a light, reliable, strong car that is inexpensive, easy to maintain and easy to get parts for. I think Fiesta will be an affordable option for the clubs and sportsmen.”
For more information on Ford Racing Fiesta Rally Experience and to register, go to www.teamoneil.com; or call the school at (603) 444-4488; or email email@example.com.
Fiesta has it all, and more
The all-new Fiesta features an expressive, vibrant design, fuel-efficient engine, high-quality materials, and a number of features and technologies not found on competitive vehicles. Designed to be versatile, personal and adaptable, Fiesta delivers best-in-class highway fuel economy of 40 mpg, convenience and connectivity, and an expressive color palette.
The available all-new North American industry-exclusive PowerShift six-speed automatic transmission combines the responsive performance and fuel economy of a manual with the convenience of a traditional automatic in one advanced, dual dry-clutch package.
Fiesta delivers a number of standard and available features that increase convenience and add connectivity. Among them is Ford SYNC®, integrating a driver’s mobile phone with Fiesta’s onboard, voice-activated communications and entertainment system.
Fiesta offers keyless entry and push-button start, a feature unique within the segment. Fiesta also features Ford’s Easy Fuel® capless fuel filler system, a North American industry-exclusive, as standard equipment.