FIVE new-evolution Ford Fiesta RS World Rally Cars are taking shape in M-Sport’s workshops ahead of their debut at Vodafone Rally de Portugal next week.
WRC.com was granted access to the British team’s base at Dovenby Hall in Cumbria.
Five drivers will be behind the wheel of the evolution Fiesta, which is described as ‘80 percent new’ and has completed more than 5000km of testing.
M-Sport drivers Elfyn Evans and Ott Tänak began their final four-day test in Portugal last Thursday, while F.W.R.T’s Lorenzo Bertelli tested earlier in the week. Jipocar Czech National Team’s Martin Prokop will test in Portugal immediately ahead of the rally.
The fifth car is understood to be for Robert Kubica. However, with details of the team restructuring that forced the Pole to miss last month’s XION Rally Argentina still awaited, it is uncertain which team will run the ex-F1 star’s car on Portugal’s new-look gravel event.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen is aiming to be back on track in Portugal and says it’s fixed the fuel injection problems that sidelined the Polo Rs of Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala in Argentina.
Analysis of their Polo R’s engines at the squad’s Wolfsburg base in Germany revealed both suffered a fault in one injector.
Ogier stopped after 45km of the opening leg’s stage while Latvala retired from third place during the first pass through the final day’s El Condor test.
Engine development head Dr Donatus Wichelhaus said the parts were investigated with the help of the technical development department’s central laboratory.
“It turns out that part of the fuel injector broke whilst the cars were running. The broken fragments blocked the mechanism of the fuel injector, thus preventing it from working properly,” he said.
Volkswagen said a different specification Bosch fuel injector would be used from Vodafone Rally de Portugal onwards. The injector is a homologated part, so the update will require the use of one of the team’s allocated ‘jokers’.