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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]



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.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Go to comments
      Got to comment # 14
      click onto the link IN # 14
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hmm. I was expecting to see the car go up against more traditional rally models; ie Evo/STI. Not a Mustang up against...another Mustang.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think the Mustang falls into Group 5, as would other 2WD front-drivers. If I'm not mistaken there's an open class that allows you to run AWD or 2WD, but there are some restrictions to keep things competitive.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't think people realize there are different Rally classes. RWD being one of them.

        Is there a FWD and a separate RWD class, or are they just one 2WD class?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Not bad for an unmodified car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm a little surprised the suspension among things weren't changed. Does this mean that the stock mustang is pretty decent for rally?
        • 5 Years Ago
        among other*
        • 5 Years Ago
        While I'm sure it's not horrendously bad, I'd still like to see how it'd compare to more common cars you see at rallies like WRXs and such.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I may be grayed out for this, but the mustang is in no way a capable rally car. The drivers certainly knew what they were doing and that sure looks like a hell of a time - its a nice PR stunt. That said, the car was heavy-tailed, clumsy and (relatively) slow. Theres a reason that mustangs are not a name associated with this motorsport.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hamud, I read it as "this motorsport" as in rally.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually Mark Utech has been rallying mustangs long before the mustang unleashed program, he used to drive a fox body mustang gt until he rolled it and was almost always at the top of the 2wd class in the Max Attack 2wd series
        • 5 Years Ago
        Mark had a big discussion about the car and how he could have improved the platform. Ford delivered him the same mustang that was used in the drag race unleashed video that was from the losing teacher. The car was heavy since it had full interior and no weight reduction. He could have easily taken a few hundred pounds off of it, thrown a proper rally suspension on it, and upgraded a few parts elsewhere and it would have been back to business compared to his fox body.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, because nobody has EVER used a RWD car in a rally race before.... AWD cars with computer controlled torque bias have been around since the dawn of time!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Mustang not a name associated with motorsport? Dude, I hate to say that but you are drastically misinformed. I would recommend some reading...

        The video is not a proof of off road capability or incapability, most of the scenes are slowed down and the car is not prepared to race. Would need a head-to-head test with a real rally car to see what happens.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually it was quite capable. I was at the rally and talked to the drivers. Keep in mind, Mustangs are regular attendees at Rally America events, along with the occasional RWD Porsche. They always seem to hold their own against FWD cars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That was great, I wish that Ford would have gotten some WRCs Fiestas or some Focus RS.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It froze the frame.
      Anyhow, a distant relative once tole me that I was related to Ken Block.
      I have no idea, and have never spoken to the man. I see he came in 2nd
      - pretty darn good. ~ Sanford "SANDY" Block
      • 5 Years Ago
      No mention of Mr. Butts?

      That's unfortunate.

      I believe it was sometime in 1999 when Jer and Mike sat down and talked about building the ultimate affordable Group 5 (translation for a few reads on the board here: DAT MEENZ iTs Da TOO wEEL DRYVE!!! y0 -w0Rd) rally car. They kept coming back to the Ford Mustang. The next spring, Mike unveiled his '86 notch back while Jer came out with his '88 GT. I remember following the success of both Jer and Mike that year and they always seemed to finish at, or near the top of Group 5.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "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."

      Am I the only one as a Mustang enthusiast who found this offensive?

      Maybe Autoblog was right. Lol.
        • 5 Years Ago
        No Chris, I'm right there with you; but it's AB so I don't take them or the majority of the comments here too serious. It's simply another means of auto-information for the fans. But it's nice to see someone else notice the horse abuse around here. -chris
      • 5 Years Ago
      mustang rally... well i'm impressed! it looks like it did pretty damn good!
      Joe C.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If you can rally race a Mustang GT then youve got some skill. Why would you race a mustang against a STI? That's the most ignorant comment i've heard in ages.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This just seems wrong. And I doubt it presents a decent competition for the other more rally-like cars. Am I wrong?
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