Chris Duplessis to Compete in the WRC at Wales Rally GB!

Great news for North American stage rallying – Chris Duplessis is going to be competing in the upcoming World Rally Championship rally, the Wales Rally GB!  Chris was the 2010 2WD Rally America National Champion, won his class at the New England Forest Rally and the 2WD class at the Mount Washington Hill Climb.  Because of this success he has been chosen to represent Rally America, RallyStream.TV and Team O’Neil Rally School in the 2011 WRC Academy finale at the Wales Rally GB November 10-13. The WRC Academy is the entry point to the WRC ladder system – a single spec series where all drivers compete with identical Ford Fiesta R2s prepared by M-Sport on control tires by Pirelli.

Chris Duplessis at this year’s New England Forest Rally

This will be a great opportunity for Chris.  I believe that he will do very well against the regular competitors.  Chris’s co-driver will be Karl Atkinson, who was Chris’ co-driver at the New England Forest Rally.  In addition to Chris, another American, Ken Block will be competing at Wales Rally BG as well.

Ford Fiesta R2

The R2 is a full kit made by M-Sport to convert a stock showroom Fiesta into a complete top engineered, very good rally car. M-Sport, located in the UK, has been building top-level Ford rally cars since 1979.  The Fiesta R2 is M-Sport’s first global rally car and is based on the Ford Fiesta Sport model. With the introduction of the Fiesta R2 and the Fiesta Super 2000, it will allow competitors to graduate in Ford cars from national level right through to the WRC.

A WRC Academy Car

The R2 has been built from a standard conversion kit developed by M-Sport. The kit to convert the car to rally specification includes engine parts to lift the engine performance. The gearbox has also been replaced with a sequential shift unit with a limited slip differential, as have the brakes and Reiger suspension. Beyond these specific items, M-Sport has used as many standard Ford components as possible in order to reduce costs for the competitor.

Harry Hunt at the 2010 Rally of Turkey

The technical specifications of the Fiesta R2 are as follows:

Donor vehicle: Ford Fiesta 1.6 Sport / Zetec S. Model dated from September 2008 purchased from any source.
Engine: 1.6 Zetec 16V – 1598cc – Ti-VCT; 4 cylinders in line; DOHC; 16 valves; alloy cylinder head
and block; variable cam timing.
Power: 170 PS @ 7,500 rpm
from 97 octane fuel
Torque: 182 Nm @ 5,700 rpm
Transmission: Five speed sequential gearbox developed by Sadev with plated limited slip differential and uprated driveshafts. ECU developed by Pi with flat shift feature with full throttle closed loop control shift.
Suspension: Reiger adjustable dampers with Eibach springs, spherical jointed top mounts front and rear.
Front dampers adjustable for bump and rebound. Standard rear beam with uprated mounts. 2-bolt clamped front upright. Adaptor pin mounted in uprights
with spherical bearing connecting the lower arm. Five stud hub.
Brakes: Gravel:(front): 285 mm AP ventilated discs with four piston competition calipers.Asphalt:(front): 310 mm AP ventilated discs with four piston competition calipers.Rear:280 mm AP ventilated discs with single piston calipers.Hydraulic handbrake
Steering: Electric power-assisted steering.
Wheels: Gravel: OZ 6”x15”
GravelAsphalt: OZ 6.5”x16”
Bodyshell: Welded T45 steel multipoint rollcage. Optimized seat position and integrated dash bar. Jacking
points optional and seam welding is permitted.
Electronics: Bespoke instrument cluster by Visteon in the same style as the standard series cluster.
Dimensions: Length: 3953mm.
Width: 1722mm.               Height: 1481mm.        Wheelbase: 2490mm.       Weight: 1030kg.
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