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Neuville ready for Ford Fiesta R5 Ypres Debut

June 26, 2013

Fresh from their best ever result in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul are ready and eager to take to the stages of the Geko Ypres Rally as part of the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) this weekend. Swapping their Ford Fiesta RS WRC – with which they secured second place at Rally Italia Sardegna – for the all-new Ford Fiesta R5, the pairing will be the first to put M-Sport’s latest challenger through its competitive paces.

Contesting their home event as a VIP car, this will be the Fiesta R5’s first public appearance on a timed stage, and who better to showcase the car’s potential? This will be Neuville’s fifth venture to the specialist event, and having finished on the podium back in 2010, M-Sport’s latest protégé is the perfect candidate to show exactly what the Fiesta R5 is capable of.

Based on the new 1.6-litre EcoBoost-engined Ford Fiesta ST road car, the Fiesta R5 forms the latest step on Ford and M-Sport’s ‘Ladder of Opportunity’. As a complete departure from the firm’s previous projects, ninety per cent of the car has been designed and manufactured from scratch making it the first in a new generation of rally cars.

Providing the perfect transition from two to four-wheel drive competition, the all-new Fiesta R5 is ideal for those keen to progress and M-Sport’s challenger will be the first of its kind to be available for purchase. With 18 deposits already placed, it is likely that the first models will be ready to roll off the workshop floor before the end of this month.

Completing a pre-event test on the sealed-surface roads around Ypres, Neuville and Gilsoul spent yesterday getting accustomed to the characteristics of their latest rally car. Already well versed in what it takes to be blisteringly quick on Tarmac, the duo are now ready to show what they – and the car – can do.

Thierry Neuville said:

“This is a great opportunity for me to really show what the [Ford Fiesta] R5 is capable of. Of course we need to show the reliability of the car, but we also need to show how competitive it is – but, honestly, I don’t think that will be too much of a problem! We tested the car yesterday and it feels great – it’s quick, but the brakes are also really responsive which is great for an event like Ypres.

“It would have been nice to go for the win this weekend, but we are running as a course car so unfortunately that won’t be possible. But it will still be a lot of fun to demonstrate this new car in front of the home fans. I’ve done a lot of work on developing cars in the past and I know what is expected of me. We need to give our feedback so that the team can improve the car even further.

“I am really looking forward to the event. The atmosphere in Ypres is amazing and it’s very nice to be back rallying at ‘home.’ To be here with a new, never before seen car just makes it all the more exciting.”


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