Dec 28,2011 00:00
To celebrate the centenary of Ford of Britain in 2011 the company has explored its photo archive to reveal rarely seen images.
Ford's unique relationship with Britain and its society has been illustrated each week by specially selected pictures.
Rallying is a tough, and sometimes cruel, sport. Designed as a Group B rally car, the RS200 was turbocharged, mid-engined, light, 4-wheel driven, and fast on any surface. As regulations demanded, 200 examples were built in the UK with production starting in 1986.
Its rallying career was cut short when the FIA reacted to a number of serious accidents by banning aerodynamic devices on Group B cars and then calling a halt to the entire class from 1987. As a result the RS200 was transformed from stark rally car to a more luxurious road car specification, albeit one that was still cramped, noisy, high-revving and physically demanding to drive.
Despite such setbacks Ford has maintained its commitment to rallying and it recently announced its continued participation in the FIA World Rally Championship for 2012 and 2013. Long-term partner M-Sport, which has successfully operated Ford’s WRC activities since 1997, operates the programme from its state-of-the-art facilities at Dovenby Hall in north-west England.
The Fiesta RS World Rally Car will continue as Ford’s WRC flagship in 2012 and 2013. The climax of the World Rally Championship in the UK saw the Ford Fiesta RS World Rally Car claim eight of the top 10 positions. This is the only time a single manufacturer has achieved this feat since the championship was created in 1973.
Ford’s long and successful heritage in rallying places it second in the all-time wins list with 79 world rally victories and its run of 145 consecutive points finishes, dating back to the opening round of the 2002 championship, is the longest in the sport’s history.