The 2011 Ford Fiesta RS World Rally Car to debut in Finland

Ford is hoping that their 2011 Fiesta will see the same public sales success in the US that the Fiesta has had in Europe and to help promote this B-segment hatchback, Ford is featuring it in the World Rally Championship - with this new WRC car set to make its debut at the end of this month in Finland.

The new Ford Fiesta RS rally car will make its WRC debut on February 10th in at Rally Sweden but before the new Fiesta hits that grand stage, it will be testing in the Arctic Lapland Rally in Finland on January 28th and 29th. The new Fiesta RS will be piloted by two different driver/navigator teams; the first pairing running the initial 5-part, 61 mile first leg on Saturday and on Sunday the second team will complete the second grouping of 5 stages, covering 82 miles. As the name would suggest, this Finnish event contains a heavy dose of arctic racing so the new Fiesta RS rally car will be put through some vigorous paces ahead of the first major event in February.

For those unfamiliar with the World Rally Championship, it is a predominantly off-road series with the cars racing from point A to point B against the clock over all sorts of imaginable road surfaces. Ice, snow, gravel, dirt, mud and even the occasional tarmac (paved roadway) make up these intricate courses. Click here for a video example of what an average rally course looks like, including footage of the new Fiesta practicing.

Needless to say, this type of racing requires a hefty amount of modification to the standard 2011 Ford Fiesta, including an intricate all-wheel-drive system but the WRC Fiesta still features Ford’s innovative EcoBoost technology. EcoBoost is best known in the US for its high fuel economy capacities but with the introduction of the Fiesta WRC racer and the street-legal 2012 Ford Focus ST, the EcoBoost is working to make a name for itself in the performance segment. At the 2010 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, I had a chance to ride along with rally racer Ken Block in his new Fiesta rally car and I can attest that this is one amazing performance car.

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Check out the gallery below for a look at the Ford Racing and Team Abu Dhabi Ford Fiesta RS world rally car - images courtesy of Ford. Click here to watch the new Ford Fiesta RS race car in action.

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