Ford BP Rallye Sport will debut the 2004 version of the Focus RS World Rally Car in New Zealand next week fresh from last month's magnificent 1-2 finish in Mexico. The car is an evolution version of the all-new Focus RS WRC which made its first appearance on the Rally New Zealand exactly 12 months ago. It successfully completed the FIA's approval procedure at the end of last month in readiness for its maiden competition outing on the smooth and fast gravel roads of New Zealand's North Island.
Technical director Christian Loriaux and his engineering team at M-Sport have made several small, but important, improvements to the 2003 car. They have redesigned the front bumper to improve engine cooling, restyled the rear bumper and shaved 10kg from the weight of the body shell by using lighter front and rear wings. Cosworth Racing has also introduced weight savings to the Duratec R engine, as well as modifying the turbo and exhaust manifold and improving the con rod and piston assembly.
Victory in Mexico, round three of the FIA World Rally Championship, for Markko Märtin and Michael Park and second place for team-mates François Duval and Stéphane Pr
évot lifted Ford into a 10 point lead in the manufacturers' standings. Märtin is also tied for the lead in the drivers' championship going into the Auckland-based Rally New Zealand (15 -18 April).
Information and pictures from Ford's Press Release, Ford Rallye Sport.