Ford Fiesta X Games Preview - Click above for a high-res image gallery
The first three X Games Rally competitions have been dominated by Subaru, with most of the drivers picking the WRX STi as their vehicle of choice. Ford is determined to change that, and is making its X Games debut with a trio of Fiesta rally cars prepared by Olsberg Motor Sport Evolution, the same team that ran the Fiesta duo at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb earlier this month. Piloting the rally cars will be a stellar lineup of drivers including Tanner Foust, a two-time X games medalist in the rally event, Kenny Brack, winner of the 1999 Indy 500, and X Games Motocross veteran Brian Deegan.
We caught up with the three cars yesterday at the El Toro Marine base in Irvine, CA, where the drivers were doing practice runs up and down the abandoned air strips. Each seemed to be coming to grips with the power of their cars, all shod with grippy BFGoodrich g-Force Rally tires, and even the experienced Foust called the Fiesta Rallycross an "angry little beast." Still, we have no doubt that they'll have the cars mastered by Thursday's practice sessions, and we wouldn't be surprised to see any of the Fiestas in the final race on Sunday.
Highlights of the X Games Rally can be viewed on ESPN and ESPN 2 starting July 30, and the final will be aired live on ABC on August 2nd from 3:00-6:00 pm EST. You can read more about the Fiesta Rallycross in the press release after the jump, and check out our gallery of yesterday's practice session below.
Photos copyright ©2009 Drew Phillips / Weblogs, Inc.
DEARBORN, Mich., July 28, 2009 – Two weeks ago the new Ford Fiesta rally car tackled the treachery and challenge of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Now on the eve of the start of X Games 15, an all-star driver trio are putting their Fiestas through two days of rigorous testing at an abandoned military base south of Los Angeles.
Sweden's Olsbergs Motor Sport Evolution (MSE) team has brought its line-up of Ford Fiesta rally cars to North America for two events, Pikes Peak and the X Games. Olsbergs MSE is entering the race with the 1999 Indianapolis 500 winner Kenny Brack, and the team will also field two Ford Fiestas for ROCKSTAR Energy Drink with drivers Tanner Foust and Brian Deegan. All three Fiestas have been prepared to comply with Rally America Open Class specifications.
The Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta is based on the production version of the Ford Feista, which is Ford of Europe's top selling car in 2009. The Fiesta will be introduced to North America in summer of 2010.
Just as they did at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, each Olsbergs Motor Sport Evolution Fiesta will utilize BFGoodrich Tires at X Games 15.
"The ROCKSTAR Fiesta is an angry little beast," said Foust, a two-time X Games medalist in the rally competition after testing his Fiesta. "That is a crazy, crazy little machine. The first time getting in to it I felt like all I could do was calm it down, because with the amount of boost it was creating and the amount of power it just wanted to run. This tight little test track was just too tight for legs that are that long. If there is any car out there that can take the X Games on pure technology and mechanics, it is the Fiesta."
"I am really impressed," said Brack, who drove for Ford factory team Rahal Letterman Racing in the now defunct CART open-wheel series, after taking his Fiesta around the simulated rally course at El Toro Marine Base. "The Fiesta is a great little car and a lot of fun to drive. It is very nimble to drive and it has a good torque curve and power. The challenge for us is to sort out the balance and combine it all together and create a nice little package that we can go racing with. The Fiesta has a lot of potential for sure."
"When I first got in the Fiesta I found myself thinking how good is this car really going to be, but when I drove it I couldn't believe it," said Deegan, a 10-time X Games medalist. "The first time I got to drive the Fiesta was at a brief test in Colorado in the high altitude. Now that we are here in Southern California and I have had some time to practice the car is really fast and it handles good. Right now we are just fine tuning it and getting ready for X Games. With only a couple of days until the start of X Games 15 we are just trying to get there and be competitive. In the end, I have been riding dirt bikes all my life so this is my first real rally car race here at X Games, but I want to do good. I want to win a medal."
The X Games, considered the premier action sports event in the world, features athletes from across the globe competing in a variety of sports, ranging from skateboarding, motocross, BMX and rally car racing. X Games 15 will be covered live on ESPN's family of networks, including ABC, as well as across ESPN's many digital media assets, including Xgames.com (or you can use ESPN.com/action or simply ESPN.com) and ESPN360.com.
Fiesta Movement in North America
Although the Fiesta production vehicle isn't slated to go on sale in the United States until 2010, 100 of the stylish European cars are already in North America in the hands of 100 internet-savvy individuals chosen to be part of the Fiesta Movement, an innovative social media campaign launched to build awareness for Ford's new small car.
The "missions" are designed to be fun, take the "agents" to new places and let them experience new things – all while driving the new European Ford Fiesta and providing feedback to Ford on the product.
Follow the Fiesta Movement at: www.fiestamovement.com.
In Europe, the Fiesta name has long been synonymous with outstanding driving dynamics, design and value. The all-new Ford Fiesta is taking that three-decade heritage to U.S. consumers for the first time.
The Fiesta already is a hit in Europe and Asia, where it went on sale last year and earlier this year, respectively. The all-new Fiesta is the fastest-selling Fiesta model ever in Europe, helping boost Ford of Europe's market share in 2009. Fiesta is Ford of Europe's best-selling model in 2009.
In 2010, the Fiesta will be produced at plants in Germany, Spain, Mexico, Thailand and China for sale in markets around the world. The Fiesta for the North American market will be built at Ford's assembly plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico.