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The opposite byproduct of M-Sport’s non-hybrid WRC experiment

M-Sport is hopeful the robust debut of its non-hybrid model of its Ford Puma World Rally Championship automotive will assist stimulate its Rally1 automotive gross sales.

The Ford squad took benefit of a brand new FIA regulation launched this 12 months that permits groups to enter non-hybrid powered Rally1 vehicles in WRC occasions by fielding rising star Martins Sesks in Poland earlier this month.

With out the hybrid, the automotive produced 130 fewer horsepower and needed to carry 100 kilograms of ballast to be positioned in tempo of the hybrid unit and its related gear within the automotive.

The thought behind the FIA’s regulation tweak was to supply a less expensive Rally1 choice at €150,000 lower than the €800,000 hybrid model and provide a Rally1 platform to assist youthful drivers bridge the hole from Rally2 to Rally1.

Its maiden outing in Poland, supported by the WRC Promoter, resulted in a formidable drive from 2023 European Rally Championship Sesks, who completed fifth general and got here inside 0.3s of claiming a stage win.

Whereas the mission’s most important focus was to supply a younger driver the expertise of Rally1, M-Sport crew principal Richard Millener says the rally put the automotive within the store window for potential patrons.

Martins Sesks, Renars Francis, M-Sport Ford World Rally Workforce Ford Puma Rally1

Picture by: Tomasz Kaliński

M-Sport bases a core a part of its enterprise on constructing and promoting rally vehicles however has bought just one Puma Rally1 since its introduction in 2022.

“I hope [we can sell some more cars]. That was additionally a part of the purpose to showcase it and present you can nonetheless come right here and have enjoyable and be in amongst the highest guys and extra importantly a good distance forward of Rally2,” Millener informed

“We needed to show it may possibly try this and nonetheless be aggressive and it may give this chance to kids to come back and show what they will do.

“Individuals had been saying when you simply take away the hybrid, it’s a Rally2 automotive however when you had watched Martins in a Rally2 automotive he would by no means have had the identical feeling or suggestions. These Rally1 vehicles are wonderful to observe and that’s the reason I at all times say that we are able to’t do away with them. We will need to have a prime class in WRC and one thing like this to showcase what that is about.”

Sesks’ tempo throughout Poland’s high-speed gravel phases raised questions surrounding the need of the hybrid models in Rally1 vehicles transferring ahead, however Millener feels this outing masked the hybrid’s true efficiency.

“It will be a really totally different dialog if we had been at a unique rally,” he added.

“We all know on the quick rallies it [the hybrid] is much less advantageous, however you may nonetheless see that Martins was on the sting in all places and possibly the bits he was lacking out on had been the bits the place folks had been utilizing the hybrid.

“It positively goes to indicate the hybrid remains to be a requirement to win however he did a improbable job with out it.”

Sesks will pilot a full hybrid model of the Puma when the WRC visits Latvia subsequent week, which marks the ultimate spherical of his two-rally programme.

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Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright specializes in Formula 1 and cycling. Oliver’s race analyses and feature stories provide readers with detailed insights into these fast-paced sports.


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