The '10 Unleashed "Mustang Rally" - Click above to watch the video after the jump

We don't think of the Ford Mustang as a rally car. In fact, a Mustang doing anything but drag racing doesn't represent its customer base very well, but that doesn't mean we don't like to see it compete in all kinds of motorsports. So who would turn a brand new 2010 Ford Mustang into a rally car? J.B. Niday would. He's the managing director of Rally America, and he unleashed his inner Mustang by pitting his two rally driving friends together for a head-to-head competition.

Using a fairly stock 2010 Ford Mustang GT – only a roll cage, race seats, rally computer, off-road tires, and an HID light bar were added – Mike Hurst and Mark Utecht raced back-to-back over four stages of the Ojibwe Forests Rally in Minnesota, with the winner taking all. And by all, we mean the Mustang. Watch the video after the jump to see who wins.

[Source: Ford]





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The last thing you'd expect to see zooming through Bemidji, Minn. at the Ojibwe Forests Rally is a 2010 Ford Mustang, or any Mustang for that matter. J.B. Niday, managing director of Rally America, had not yet experienced a 2010 Mustang at any of his Rally America competitions, but that was about to change.

Niday unselfishly chose to unleash his inner Mustang with Ford's "'10 Unleashed" campaign through his two good friends Mike Hurst, technical director for Rally America, and Mark Utecht, one of Rally America's top two wheel drive competitors.

There are no ovals, pace cars or rain delays in Rally racing. The sport features real cars racing against the clock on closed-off sections of real roads that are usually unpaved and unforgiving. Gravel logging roads, mountain passes, well groomed forest roads are what make up the tracks for rally drivers. Events can last several days and cover hundreds of miles through rain, snow and day or night. A rally car is the ultimate real world sports car: one that is capable of high speed and incredible handling on any road surface and in every weather condition.

Niday organized a head-to-head rally in a 2010 Ford Mustang on four stages of the Ojibwe Forests Rally course – winner takes all. Shortly after Niday announced the "'10 Unleashed" challenge, he asked Utecht what he thought about the competition. He was quick to answer, "I think I'm going to beat him [Hurst's] flat out."

Hurst and Utecht are friends off the track and deadly on it. Their "friendly" conversation of recent years has been about who is behind the wheel of the '86 Mustang that Hurst reluctantly sold to Utecht several years ago and this challenge would settle their Mustang rally feud once and for all.

Hurst last drove his cherished '86 Mustang in a rally in February of 2004, Utecht has proved he knows how to drive a Mustang in the woods by winning the Rally America Group 5 class in his region ever since he bought the '86 Mustang from Hurst.

"Big rooster tails, throwing the Mustang through the corners -- that's old school rally and that's what we saw during the '10 Unleashed Mustang Rally," said Niday. "That's what the winner will keep doing with his new Mustang and that's what I want people to look forward to when watching a Rally America event."

No major performance modifications were necessary for the Mustang compete in the rally. The major modifications were made to the interior of the vehicle adding a roll cage racing seats and rally computer. The only two modifications made to the exterior were the off-road racing tires and rally car signature HID Light Bar.

"What better place to settle the Mustang rally feud than through the '10 Unleashed campaign," said Steve Ling, car group marketing manager for Ford Motor Company. "Not only was it great to see Mike and Mark settle their score in the rally-prepped 2010 Mustang, but it was also exciting to see the Mustang take on a world where it typically doesn't belong."

To find out who earned lifetime bragging rights and also took home use of the 2010 Mustang for a year, check out the video chronicling Mustang Rally at www.the2010mustang.com.