Ford Fiesta S2000 to conquer Rally Mexico
Xevi Pons delighted to return to the WRC
M-Sport will look for the Ford Fiesta S2000 to be on top of the world as the FIA Super 2000 World Rally Championship 2010 moves to Rally Mexico next week.
The previous round at Rally Sweden proved to be a highly successful one for the Ford Fiesta S2000, with three finishing in the top four places of the S-WRC category and the car scoring an overall WRC stage win for the first time at the snow-bound event.
An entirely different challenge lies in wait as three Ford Fiesta S2000 crews tackle the hot, high-altitude gravel stages of Rally Mexico.
Former WRC manufacturer team driver Xevi Pons will make a return to top-level rallying in Mexico behind the wheel of the Ford Fiesta S2000.
The 29-year-old Spaniard and co-driver Alex Haro will be run by a new team under the guidance of compatriot Luis Moya - who won 24 WRC events and two World Championship crowns as a co-driver alongside Carlos Sainz – and will enter at least seven S-WRC rounds. With extensive WRC experience under his belt from previous years, including a string of fourth place finishes on major events, Pons will be keen to show how competitive he can be in the new breed of rally car when the action begins in Mexico.
Also making his maiden outing in the Ford Fiesta S2000 is former Junior World Rally Championship driver Michal Kosciuszko, who will contest seven rounds of the new S-WRC category in 2010.
The 24-year-old Pole finished as runner-up in the J-WRC in 2009, and is looking forward to pitting himself against drivers like Martin Prokop with whom he enjoyed close battles in previous seasons – especially as he is now in the same car as the Czech driver. Kosciuszko and co-driver Maciek Szczepaniak chose to use the Ford Fiesta S2000 for their 2010 campaign after testing a number of other cars, but believe they have given themselves the best possible chance of success by electing to run with a Fiesta prepared by Belgian firm Symtech Racing.
Czech driver Martin Prokop made a fine start to his 2010 S-WRC campaign at Rally Sweden when he drove the Ford Fiesta S2000 to third place in the class. Prokop drove well throughout the event and experienced few problems as he chased fellow Fiesta S2000 runner Janne Tuohino ahead of him.
However, the highlight of his weekend came on the second day when he stunned the field by recording the fastest time on SS16 Hagfors Sprint and taking his first S-WRC stage win –also beating every other car in the field to take an overall stage win and a create a new first for both the S2000 class and the Ford Fiesta S2000. The 27-year-old will be keen to produce that kind of form again as he heads to Rally Mexico and continue building towards his title challenge.
With Rally Mexico 2010 leading the state of Guanajuato’s bicentennial festivities, M-Sport will be confident that the Fiesta will live up to its name and be joining in the celebrations come the finish of the event.
“I am very excited to be back in the WRC and looking forward to this season. It is going to be hard in Mexico as I have maybe not had enough testing, so the aim for me is to get to the end and finish with no problems. Of course I want to try and win the championship, but Mexico is about getting some points and the same in Jordan, then we can see if it is possible to be up there going for the title.”
“I cannot wait for the rally. I tested the car last week and it was very strong and nice to work with. I have a really good sponsor in Lotos Dynamic, a great team and car behind me now, and I have to use this backing to its full potential and get some really good results. The competition will be very tough because I think there are four or five drivers on each rally who can fight for the win, but I can’t wait to test myself at this level. I came third in the Junior World Rally Championship class in Mexico in 2008 so I definitely want to try and beat that. It will be a very exciting challenge to start my S-WRC season.”
“Sweden was a good event as we got good points and made no mistakes, but I think I can go faster in Mexico because it is on gravel and I have more experience of that surface. I have also been there before and I know what it is like so we should be able to push a bit more. It will be a big challenge to win because Kosciusko and Al-Attiyah will be strong rivals. I have competed against them before and they have good experience so they will be difficult to beat, but it will be a good fight.”
Malcolm Wilson, M-Sport Managing Director
“We have seen the Fiesta S2000 perform exceptionally well on a number of different surfaces so far and the conditions at Rally Mexico will be another chance for it to prove its capability. Martin [Prokop] had a very good run in Sweden and took his, and the car’s, first S-WRC stage win, so he will be keen to show that kind of form again. It’s also great to see another two talented drivers like Pons and Kosciusko choose the Fiesta S2000 for their campaigns, and I’m sure they will both want to be up there challenging for honours. With all those guys capable of fighting for the win it looks like it will be another very exciting rally in the S-WRC class.”
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