The Hampshire based preparation firm will field two of the brand-new M-Sport built examples at round two of the British Rally Championship, which makes the trek to Southern Ireland and the town of Cork for a two-day blast over the closed public roads in the area.
The firm will mount a two-car assault in the Junior category of the BRC and will aim to put the disappointment of the opening round in Wales behind them as they switch to asphalt for the first time this season. The Junior pilots will vie for a prize fund of 60,000 Euros towards a season in the Junior World Rally Championship in 2020 which has been provided by M-Sport Poland and Pirelli.
The Fiesta R2 has undergone a significant transformation in 2019 and is the most advanced R2 car available to date. With cars arriving in the UK just days before the opening round of the season, eyes were well and truly on EDSL Sport drivers Jordan Reynolds and Ruairi Bell at the Cambrian Rally as not only the cars but also the drivers made their Junior BRC debut at the event.
Both squad members returned an impressive performance in the tricky Welsh forests, setting podium qualifying times. Bell and co-driver Darren Garrod were able to make it to the finish despite last-minute transmission issues but Reynolds and co-driver Peredur Davies were cruelly robbed of a result after the final stage with electrical gremlins. With that behind them, the young squad will be looking to the change of surface to get back towards the sharp end of the Junior category.
Team Manager Alex Waterman believes that the new Fiesta is ready for the task ahead and cannot be underestimated in the Irish lanes.
“We are really looking forward to seeing how the Fiesta will perform on asphalt and it I believe it is well matched to the iconic stages that will be part of the rally next weekend,” he says.
“M-Sport has done a great job in developing the car for all surfaces and I was lucky enough to try one on asphalt at the open day back in January. Although it was an icy race circuit, you could really feel how dynamic it was and all the feedback from the drivers was outstanding. I really believe the Fiesta will be the perfect car for West Cork and I`m looking forward to seeing how both Jordan and Ruairi get on”.
Despite being only his second year of active competition, Reynolds beat more powerful machinery to secure his maiden rally win and give him a confidence boost heading into the first asphalt round of the season.
“I`m very much looking forward to West Cork” says Reynolds.
“We did the Mini Tempest as an exercise to see how we got on with the car and we were very surprised to win it! I’ll use the experience from the event to try and continue progressing. I`ll need to not over drive the car and make a simple mistake this weekend.
It’s certainly a new challenge but the roads look fantastic. Huge contrasts with high speed roads followed by some very technical sections. It will be great to use the new Fiesta on asphalt and seeing how we get on against the locals”.
Both drivers will have to tackle over 240km of flat out driving spread across 15 special stages during the weekend.
Action gets underway at 10.58am on Saturday 16th March with the iconic “Ring” stage plus eight tests during the day including a spectator stage in Clonakilty.
The more leisurely midday start on St. Patrick’s Day will take see Clogagh, Ballinascarthy & Ardfield all attempted twice before an evening finish in Cork.