The World Rally Championship doesn't get much in the way of U.S. air time, but it nonetheless supports a rabid fan base. U.S. fans will be happy to know Ford has confirmed its presence in WRC through 2013 today, campaigning the Fiesta RS WRC under the revised rules.
Lead driver Jari-Matti Latvala will team with former WRC champ and privateer Petter Solberg for the 2012 season. Latvala's co-driver is Miikka Anttila, while Solberg's is Chris Patterson.
“Ford has a rich history in world rallying and we’re excited to continue fighting for titles on the world stage with our great partners at M-Sport,” said Odell. “WRC is a great fit with the Ford brand DNA of precise handling, fun-to-drive cars with leading technology and we’ll continue to leverage rallying to inspire innovation in future vehicles and reach new audiences.”
The Fiesta RS WRC car itself has been previewed several times already, including its official unveiling
at the 2010 Paris Auto Show, its livery debut
nearly a year ago, and Ken Block's romp through the woods with a helmet cam
While a Fiesta RS version isn't expected for the streets, we should be getting a hotted-up ST version
very much like the concepts shown at Frankfurt and Los Angeles. Powered by a 180-horsepower 1.6-liter turbo four, they're similar in basic mechanical configuration to the WRC cars--as they should be--but without the added expense, complexity, and traction of all-wheel drive. Styling inspiration for the Fiesta ST is drawn from the WRC car as well.
Ford hasn't yet confirmed the ST's production, but given the confirmation of its WRC involvement and its desire to "inspire innovation in future vehicles," we think it's likely.