Uncategorized

DirtFish and World Rally Champion Ott Tänak join forces for 2020

Uncategorized | January 13, 2020

DirtFish is delighted to announce its partnership with reigning FIA World Rally Champion, Ott Tänak.

In a new-for-2020 agreement, the American rally company’s branding will appear on Ott’s crash helmet, race suit and cap. 

The cooperation with the 12-time world rally winner signals DirtFish’s intentions to broaden the appeal of rallying in North America, while simultaneously developing a global appreciation of its own brand.

DirtFish owner, Steve Rimmer, said “The chance to work with a world champion like Ott was, quite simply, too good an opportunity to miss.”

“We’ve known Ott for a few years now and working alongside him is something we are very, very excited about. DirtFish joins him at a fascinating time in his career as he begins the defense of his maiden WRC title.”

“We have to be clear here: this is much more than a straight commercial agreement. DirtFish has some very big plans related to the World Rally Championship and you’ll be seeing more on those in the coming weeks.”

“The intention is to raise awareness of this incredible sport and championship in the United States. There is a strong rallying community here in America and DirtFish plays a large, fundamental role in the sport. However, we want to see that continue to grow and grow. Historically, rallying hasn’t been at its most prominent in America – but we shouldn’t forget this country has run five WRC rounds with the Press on Regardless and Olympus Rallies –  and we want to change that.”

“We’re looking to work very closely with WRC Promoter to provide a platform through which we can introduce Ott and the WRC to North America.”

“Short, medium and long-term… watch this space. DirtFish and North America are coming to the WRC party.”

Hyundai Motorsport driver Tänak echoed those sentiments and admitted he is looking forward to an exciting alliance with one of North America’s biggest rallying brands.

Tänak said, “I first met Steve [Rimmer, DirtFish owner] when I drove one of his cars at Goodwood in 2010. Actually, Markko [Märtin] was driving the car, but Steve let me have a go as well!

“Steve is one of the most enthusiastic people I’ve ever met in the sport and that’s the same for everybody in the DirtFish family. I’m looking forward to working with them and I am really looking forward to my first trip to DirtFish in Seattle later this year – remember, every day is a school day!

“But seriously, it’s really nice to be taking the WRC to North America a little bit. I know that the sport of rally is quite small over there, but I hope this deal can help show it to some more people.” 

DirtFish’s new deal with the World Rally Champion is just the beginning of an exciting period of global expansion for the Seattle-based rally brand. 

Take a trip to DirtFish.com. More importantly, make sure you come back on January 20th

 DirtFish and World Rally Champion Ott Tänak join forces for 2020

Contact DirtFish Director of Marketing:
Trevor Wert 
Media@DirtFish.com
Office: +1 425 888 7715

DirtFish Rally Legends: Richard Burns Subaru Impreza WRC99

Uncategorized | January 12, 2020

If you’ve followed the sport of rally over the last twenty years, there’s a good chance you’ve heard the name Richard Burns. He is by far one of the most notable and successful World Rally drivers of the 90’s and 2000’s. From 1999 through 2001, Burns was competing in the World Rally Championship under the Prodrive-run, Subaru World Rally Team, where he piloted the Impreza WRC to an overall victory in the 2001 Championship. Known to be one of the smoothest and most methodical drivers of his time, he continued to compete in WRC under the Peugeot flag, however he was one of few people to drive in one of the most iconic rally cars ever.

The name “Subaru” has been synonymous with rally around the world for many years and is probably one of the most iconic names, not only in American rally, but rallies around the world as well. Nearly every rally championship around the world has Subaru’s competing (and dominating) the classes they run in.

IMG_2741-2

DirtFish owner and rally fan, Steve Rimmer, has acquired one amazing collection of legendary rally cars over the years. One of which is a beautiful “World Rally Blue” 1999 Subaru Impreza WRC99 adorned with one of the most classic and memorable liveries to ever be on the side of a Subaru. Built by Prodrive in the UK and never actually raced, the car was a gift to Burns as a “congrats and thanks” for winning the 2001 World Rally Championship driver’s title. Sadly, he only owned the car for about two years before a brave battle with brain cancer sadly took his life.

After the Burns’ passing in 2005, the car became a part of his estate. The ownership of the estate was then transferred to the Richard Burns Foundation, which was set up by a group of Burns’ closest friends and colleagues with the goal of helping people who are affected by serious illnesses and injuries. Rimmer purchased the car from the foundation, giving them liquidity, which helped fund and establish grants that are awarded by them; it also allowed them to hire staff to raise further funds.

This meticulously prepared 22B was built to the same specifications as the car Burns piloted in the WRC and is very well equipped, even by today’s standards. The engine that helps propel the car’s 2700 lbs is the quintessential EJ20 boxer engine still found in Subaru’s today. The engine block and heads are milled from aluminum, each cylinder has 4 valves and the cars is equipped with an IHI turbo charger, producing 300 BHP at 5500 rpm and a massive 480 lbs/ft of torque at 4000 rpm. In laymen’s terms; this is one quick car with phenomenal acceleration.

IMG_2832-2

The drivetrain is very similar to what would be found in today’s top-level rally cars: it has a Prodrive 6-speed sequential gearbox with computer-controlled hydraulic front, rear and center differentials. The Prodrive XTC McPherson struts and shock absorbers, at the time, were the best that money could buy and helped spawn the technology you see in not only rally cars today, but everyday road-going cars as well. With the speed and cornering covered, Prodrive didn’t skimp on the braking system either and equipped it with 4-pot AP Racing calipers and vented rotors.

IMG_2825-2

Although this car has never actually competed on a rally stage, it is an important car in rally today and a testament to three rally icons; Richard Burns, Subaru and Prodrive. Through the years it has aided in continuing Burns’ legacy through the foundation created in his name by helping people afflicted with serious illnesses and injuries.

Head over to our Rally Media page to get this amazing car as your wallpaper!

IMG_2709-2 IMG_2813-2 IMG_2824-2 IMG_2822-2 IMG_2829-2 IMG_2839-2 IMG_2691-2 IMG_2690-2 IMG_2688-2

Article by: Trevor Wert (DirtFish)

Photos by: Justin Fitch (DirtFish)

Rally Legends – Lancia 037 Stradale

Uncategorized | January 12, 2020

When you type “Group B rally” in your favorite browser and look up images, your screen is most likely dominated by photos of the infamous Audi Sport Quattro with its massive wheel arches and flamboyant aerodynamics package. The Audi is the car that comes to mind when most motorsports fans reminisce about the “Golden Era” of the World Rally Championship. What a lot of people tend to forget is that the year after Group B was introduced, it was actually dominated by a small mid-engine, two-wheel-drive Italian car that has a stronger resemblance to a sports car than a rally car.

The Lancia 037 made its stage rally debut in 1982 when they were plagued with issues and forced to retire from the majority of the races. However, that all changed during the 1983 World Rally Championship. With WRC Champions, Walter Rohl and Markku Alén, behind the wheel of the Martini Racing-clad cars, Lancia won yet another Manufacturers’ Championship. To top that off, the 037 became the last two-wheel-drive car to ever win the WRC. The Italian team was even able to dominate the more powerful, four-wheel-drive Audi Quattro.

Lancia-037-Front

The Lancia 037 is one of the sleekest and most stunning cars ever to grace the rally stages. If you were to see one driving down the road, you might be inclined to say, “That’s a sweet Ferrari!” and only the most die-hard rally fan would hold that against you. But, to be honest, it does look very similar to a Ferrari, and there is a good reason for that. To build the Lancia 037, Abarth teamed up with the world-renowned automotive design firm, Pininfarina. This firm has had a hand in designing everything from Ferraris to Cadillacs and everything in between. However, to say that their focus has been on Italian cars would be an understatement. The 037 is only one of the eighteen Lancia’s that Pininfarina has blessed with its beautiful design work over the years. In the United States, the 037 just recently began to gain some attention. However, in Europe, they are viewed as the Italian god-like cars they were meant to be. From a distance, the vibrant red car looks more like an Italian sculpture than a car built for the rigors of the World Rally Championship. The closer you get to it, the more the 80’s Italian craftsmanship begins to show. I’m starting to see why they made it such a bright color! Like those of nearly every Group B car, the body panels don’t quite line up. If you’re up to speed on your Lancias and Fiats, you’ll notice that there are quite a few body panels that were borrowed from other models. For example, the overall body comes from a Montecarlo. The Montecarlo didn’t have enough headroom to accommodate a driver and co-driver with helmets. So, what did the designers do to fix this issue? They cut a hole in the roof and fitted a double bubble!

Lancia-037-3QF

The Italians are notorious for doing things a bit differently than everyone else, and this car is no exception. Rather than fitting a turbo that is bigger than the head of a high school quarterback, they decided to mount a supercharger on top of the carbureted 2.0 Liter inline four-cylinder engine that was robbed from the uber-successful Fiat 131 Abart. This provided modest 205 horsepower, which was eventually increased to 300 in the Evolution 1 variant and 325 in the Evolution 2. Superchargers inherently offer another advantage over turbos—linear power delivery, which is another reason the 037 is such an easy car to drive. Rather than being inundated with a massive surge of power following an enormous amount of turbo lag, you have constant—and virtually instant—power and torque.

Lancia-037-3QR

Although the car in the photos is the Stradale (street version), you can tell that it was built to be a race car. The 037 Stradale was equipped with a five-speed gearbox that featured a dogleg first gear, allowing the driver to change from 2nd to 3rd and 4th to 5th gears quicker and easier. Another piece of equipment that is typically only found on race cars is the dry sump oil system, which helps provide the car with consistent lubrication under acceleration, braking and hard turns. You would be hard-pressed to find a factory-built car these days that features a dry sump system. One of the coolest additions that I found while getting out of the car was the integrated roll cage. The craftsmanship that went into hiding it was very well-done. If you’re not looking for it, you wouldn’t even know it was there.

What is it like to drive?

Unlike the Ford RS200, this car doesn’t feel like it’s waiting for the opportune moment to kill you in a fiery blaze of glory. Aside from that, it might be one of the best cars I have ever driven! Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking… but seriously, the Lancia 037 is an amazingly well-engineered, well-balanced car, and it is so much fun to drive! It may not have the massive 400-600 horsepower of its Group B successors, but a lot of those cars are either uncomfortable or downright terrifying to drive. The 037 makes up for the lack of power by giving the driver an all-around fantastic driving experience without the added anxiety.

The first thing that I noticed was the multitude of sounds coming from the supercharged engine. Under acceleration, you are overwhelmed with the deep rumble of the engine and loud whine from the supercharger. As you push the revs higher, these sounds get more intense, and you begin to feel them through your entire body. It is a truly visceral experience.

Lancia-037-Profile2

By far, my favorite thing about this car is the handling. The day I took this car out, the goal was to experience it in nearly every scenario. However, that all changed as soon as I took it to the twisting curves of Mercer Island. The beautiful thing about this road is that you can enjoy what a car has to offer without pushing it too the ragged edge. The moment that I made it through the exit of the first corner, my plan for the day had changed. My new goal? Find more curvy, technical roads like that one. Luckily, Washington has no shortage of them.

At this point, I was beginning to understand what all the fuss was about with the Lancia 037. I was also starting to feel that this was indeed designed to be a rally car, and not just another street car trying to be a rally car—it was made to take any corner you throw at it. As you let off the throttle entering a corner, you can feel the weight move to the front of the car. Because of this, the steering feels entirely effortless, and the car ends up right where you want it to be. That doesn’t just happen every now and then… that was the feeling around every single corner, no matter the severity. An unsettling bump mid-corner? The 037 doesn’t bat an eye at it, it simply absorbs it and carries on through the corner, ready for the next. This type of handling combined with the linear power delivery instills some serious confidence in the person behind the wheel. There was never a point that I was worried about the car doing something unexpected, which allowed me to focus solely on driving and enjoying the car.

Lancia-037-Profile

Prior to DirtFish Owner, Steve Rimmer, showing me his beautiful Lancia 037, I really didn’t know much about the car. Quite honestly, I probably would have been one of those people saying, “Sweet Ferrari!” However, after learning more about the car and having the absolute pleasure of driving it, I can safely say that I have fallen in love. If you ever have the opportunity to get up close to one of these Italian beauties, take your time. It will be worth it, I promise!

Article and photos by Trevor Wert (DirtFish)

DirtFish Rally Legends: Audi Sport Quattro

Uncategorized | January 12, 2020

If you’ve been a fan of rally for any period of time (or any form of racing for that matter), there is a good chance you’ve heard something about Group B. For those of you who haven’t, it is often viewed as one of the most legendary and exciting times in not only the sport of rally, but in all of motorsports. Over the years, the different World Rally Championship classes have had to follow strict set of rules governing limitations on power, weight and technology that the teams are allowed to use when building a car. Since rally cars are production-based, the manufacturers are required to build a minimum quantity of a model each year, for it to even qualify for use as a rally car (Current WRC requirements are 2,500 units). Group B was VERY different, with the minimum production requirement only being set at 200 units, and very few restrictions on pretty much everything else. Teams were permitted to use high-tech materials in order to make the cars weigh as little as possible. There were also no restrictions on the amount of boost the cars were allowed to have, meaning Group B cars were outfitted with massive turbos, resulting in a massive horsepower and torque increase from previous years. This meant cars achieved more than 500 horsepower. In 1986, the Audi Sport Quattro rally car produced a massive 591 horsepower!

IMG_5559

Click here to make this your desktop wallpaper!

The Audi Sport Quattro was one of the most important, if not the most important car of all time in the sport. Pioneering the use of a four-wheel drive system in rally cars, Audi set the standard for top level rally cars around the world today. The company first introduced the “Quattro” system in 1980, prior to the birth of Group B. Before that, manufacturers had toyed with the idea of using four-wheel drive systems in their rally cars, opting not to with the thought that the added weight and high complexity of the systems would outweigh the advantages over the best two-wheel drive vehicles at that time. However, Audi was able to prove with the Ur-Quattro (original Quattro) that a well-sorted four-wheel drive system was immensely beneficial.

IMG_5604

With the introduction of Group B in 1982 and the success of their Ur-Quattro model, Audi opted to use that as the “basis” for the Sport Quattro, though there were few similarities between the two, aside from looks. Since the FIA (International Automobile Federation) only required 200 models of the car to be built to become available for sale to the public, manufacturers were able to build more purpose-built rally cars that didn’t need to be based on a mass production model, but the other way around.

IMG_5598

Click here to make this your desktop wallpaper!

The development of the Sport Quattro was done in secret by Audi engineers at a separate location from where the normal road cars were manufactured at the time. One of the most noticeable exterior differences between the Ur and Sport Quattro was the shorter wheelbase, reduced by 12.6 inches between the B- and C-pillars. The steel monocoque chassis was produced by Baur, a specialist coachbuilder near Audi’s headquarters. They were also tasked with fabricating the exterior bodywork and styling of the cars from materials like carbon-Kevlar, fiberglass and other composites. The use of these lightweight materials not only aided in cutting the overall weight of the cars by nearly 800 pounds, but also allowed the designers to get a little more creative with the looks – providing sleeker, wider wheel arches and the distinct hood vent, unique to the Sport Quattro.

IMG_5643

 

 

While the Audi “works” cars were pushing out massive horsepower and torque numbers, the street version of the car was a little tamer, but still no slouch. The powerhouse in the Sport Quattro is a 2.1 Liter dual overhead cam, 20-valve five-cylinder engine, equipped with a Borg Warner KKK-K27 turbo and Bosch electronic fuel injection system, producing 302 horsepower and 278 lb/ft of torque. This may not seem like a huge output number these days, but in the late 1980’s, these cars had some serious get up and go!

IMG_5655

As I pulled out of the parking lot of the owners’ garage and drove through the streets of Issaquah, I thought to myself, “This feels like any other 80’s Audi.” That first impression changed pretty quickly on the on-ramp to I-90. I figured I’d see what kind of get-up-and-go the old girl had – let’s just say my eyes got big and I couldn’t help but say profanities with excitement! That was about the time I fell in love… Did I mention the turbo on the Sport Quattro is massive? To put it in perspective, people are mounting Borg Warner K27 turbos to their Cummins Diesel engines! As with most cars that are equipped with a huge turbo, there is a good amount of lag. But, once that huge turbo spools up at just above 3500 rpm, the acceleration is seriously unbelievable- it feels more like a car with 400 lb/ft of torque. It’s a smooth, yet very abrupt woosh of power that pushes you hard into your seat. You REALLY want it to keep going, but before you know it, it’s time to shift and do it all over again for the next gear.

IMG_5528

You would think with a car that is 5 years older than I am (I’m 27), it would be a heavy lumbering beast with soft suspension and a ton of body roll, like your grandpa’s Cadillac. But let’s face it, these are Germans we’re talking about here… they aren’t known to do anything less than perfect. If that’s not enough, it was developed by Germans who were Audi’s top engineers at the peak of the World Rally Championship.

After driving on the highway for a little while, I thought to myself, “What am I doing on the interstate? I’m in an Audi Sport Quattro…” I quickly decided to get off a couple exits early and take the “long way” back to DirtFish. I went north from Preston through Fall City, then east on WA 202 before taking Tokul Road and dropping down the driveway to the DirtFish headquarters. This was by far the best decision I made that day- the curves and elevation changes of this route are what this car was made for. It was quickly evident that the German’s hit it on the head with this one. The handling and the way it carved through corners is far superior to the majority of new cars these days.

Corner entry using proper trail braking technique in the Audi Sport Quattro doesn’t encourage the nose of the car to dip, but rather plants itself hard where you want it to be. As you ease off the brakes, it stays there all the way through the corner, until you roll back on the power… As long as you set the car properly for the corner on entry, you can lightly ease into the power earlier than you would expect in a 4WD car, and it still feels like you’re riding on rails. For all the skiers out there, it feels like carving down a mountain on a freshly groomed ski run – solid and fast with absolute control. Nailing one corner beautifully will set you up to smoothly connect to the next one with just the right amount of body roll. Keeping the revs’ high enough for the turbo to power you out of each corner makes for one of the most fun and raw drives I have ever taken. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve had that big of a smile on my face while driving a car in a long time (and I’ve had the opportunity to briefly “rally” an Audi R8 in the snow). With the amount of character this car has, how could I not be beaming from ear to ear?

IMG_5554

The history on this particular Sport Quattro is a very unique one. First of all, it probably has more miles than any other one on the planet, currently sitting at 137K miles. That will probably breath a huge sigh of relief into any car nuts out there who think that a car is made to be driven rather than sitting in a garage rarely seeing the light of day. The original owner, Tom Hammond, turned up to the Audi factory to pick up his brand new Sport Quattro. While he was there, he saw a prototype Audi works S1 E2 “Pikes Peak” car sitting in the lobby. After some persuasion, he was the proud owner of not only a Sport Quattro road car, but also a 680 horsepower Audi rally car. He then proceeded to purchase a trailer, load the rally car, hook it up to the road car and tow it all the way back to his home in the UK. Following his EPIC purchase, Hammond subsequently showed up to multiple rallycross and hill climb events around the UK, driving his Malachite Green Audi with the works car in tow to compete with. It was then passed along to the [then] Chairman of the UK Audi Owners Club from whom DirtFish owner, Steve Rimmer, purchased it. Following Steve’s purchase, the car was loaded on a boat and shipped to Washington State where it was added to his already impressive collection.

2324501575_ee30df2cbc_b

Side Note: To make this car even more rare, it was one of only 15 that were dressed in the beautiful Malachite Green, which paired with the white 15 inch Ronal wheels, gives it a very distinct and distinguished look.

IMG_5574

 

When most people think of Group B, they immediately imagine the 600 horsepower, fire breathing monsters flying down a rally stage with the likes of Stig Blomqvist and Hannu Mikkola behind the wheel. While the era did produce absolutely ludicrous cars that are a handful to drive, it also produced some utterly amazing and iconic cars. The Audi Sport Quattro is the perfect example of the Group B pedigree – with its incredible handling, impressive acceleration and timeless looks, it will continue to be one of the best drivers’ cars ever made.

Article by Trevor Wert (DirtFish)

Photos by: Justin Fitch (DirtFish)

IMG_5491
IMG_5646 IMG_5630 IMG_5618 IMG_5604 IMG_5611

DirtFish Rally Legends: Colin McRae’s Focus RS WRC

Uncategorized | January 12, 2020

Since the birth of the World Rally Championship, Ford has cultivated an overwhelmingly successful and extensive history in the world of rally all around the globe. They have developed a reputation for building some of the most impressive rally cars of all time, with their first foray into the World Rally Championship in 1978, which was the same year the WRC was founded. Entering into the championship with the already proven Escort RS1800, with world-renowned drivers, Hannu Mikkola and Bjorn Waldegard. In their inaugural WRC season, Ford was able to bring home their first WRC win from the Lombard RAC Rally with the Escort. That was the beginning of one of the most successful manufacturers to ever grace the WRC.

Since that first season, nearly forty years ago, Ford has built their fair share of extremely successful rally cars, while pushing the limits of technology and innovation. Some of the most notable rally cars that have been a product of the Ford World Rally Team are the Mk1 and Mk2 Escorts, the monstrous and fabled RS200, the Escort RS Cosworth, the Focus RS WRC and most recently, the Fiesta WRC.

McRae-5

The DirtFish showroom is home to one of the few Ford Focus RS WRC cars in the world, and a very special one at that. As if being a one of forty-four M-Sport built Focus WRC cars produced between 1999 and 2002 doesn’t make it special enough, the rear windows carry the names: McRae and Grist. Yes, this is one of the cars that has had the ultimate privilege of being driven by arguably one of the most iconic legends in the world of rally, let alone one of the biggest names of all-time in motorsports.

For those of you who don’t know about Colin McRae, let me give you a brief history: McRae’s rally career began in 1986, competing in the Scottish Rally Championship, eventually winning the driver championship only two years later. In 1991, he was signed on to Subaru’s British Rally Championship Team, which was run by the infamous Prodrive, going on to win the 1991 and ‘92 British Rally Championships. McRae’s successes in the BRC lead to his first WRC campaign in 1993. Under the newly formed Subaru World Rally Team and driving the Subaru Legacy RS, he was able to obtain his first ever WRC rally victory in New Zealand that year (this was also the first victory for Subaru World Rally Team). McRae had continued success with Subaru and Prodrive in the iconic 555 Subaru Impreza that he would eventually drive to win the 1995 WRC driver’s title, winning two races and achieving three more podiums. His WRC success continued with Subaru and Prodrive through the 1998 season, achieving two-second place finishes, and one-third place finish in the overall driver’s championship.

AlisterMcRae-Focus-8

 

1999 marked the beginning of a four-year relationship between McRae and Ford; it was also the first season that Ford would be using their new Focus WRC. Upon joining the Ford World Rally Team, run by world-renowned Cockermouth-based M-Sport, he was able to prove his worth right off the bat, achieving a 3rd place finish in Monte Carlo, the inaugural round of the 1999 WRC season. Unfortunately, the team was using an illegal water pump, ultimately resulting in McRae’s disqualification.

 

Two events after the disqualification, McRae brought home the first win for the new Focus WRC at the African Safari Rally. This was not only a monumental finish for the Scotsman, but M-Sport and Ford as well, proving that the newbie had what it takes to be on top with the new team. That top finish was immediately followed by yet another win from McRae at Rally Portugal.

AlisterMcRae-Focus-17

McRae gained an unrivaled amount of notoriety, partly because of his success, but also thanks to his flamboyant and ‘all or nothing driving’ style. Coining the motto, “If in doubt, flat out”, is something he absolutely lived by, either achieving great results or crashing out in a spectacular fashion (you could almost say that he took a page out of Ricky Bobby’s book with the quote, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”).

McRae-16

During his time with Ford World Rally Team and M-Sport, McRae was able to achieve nine rally victories and sixteen total podium finishes in the Focus. In 2001, he completed the season in 2nd place for the overall driver’s championship.

The 2001 Focus RS WRC found in the DirtFish showroom has a short history at the hands of McRae, only entering three WRC events spanning the 2001 and 2002 seasons. This car (Y5 FMC) was used in the 2001 Rallye Sanremo, one of the events that lead to his 2nd place finish in the driver’s championship that year. The following year, it was only used in two events, the Monte Carlo Rally and Tour de Corse – Rally France (Corsica).

Unfortunately, Corsica was the final rally this car would ever see. After fighting to 4th place through the first fourteen stages, McRae and co-driver, Nicky Grist, were pushing hard attempting to gain time on the leaders. Upon entry of a high speed right-hand corner, the car hit a patch of mud on the tarmac, causing it to understeer off the outside of the corner and triggering a severe impact with a tree on the driver’s side. The impact crushed the A pillar, bending the cage and reducing the area around McRae’s feet to nearly half of it’s original size. McRae suffered a concussion, and also split open his little finger, breaking bones and tearing tendons.

mcrae03

Following the crash, the car was sent back to the UK where it sat in the corner of the M-Sport shop, unrepaired for years.

September 15th, 2007 was a devastating day for not only the rally community, but the entire motorsports world. That was the day the legendary driver passed away in an unfortunate helicopter accident.

McRae-9

After his passing, it was decided that Y5 FMC would be resurrected and restored to its former glory. Because of the extensive damage suffered in the Corsica wreck, it would be no small job. It was obviously going to need to have the majority of the roll cage rebuilt and a lot of work straightening the body and chassis to bring it back to its former glory. The project was taken on by the technicians at M-Sport, and the car was rebuilt to the exact standards and specifications it originally had when it left the shop back in 2001.

Following it’s restorations, it was purchased by DirtFish Owner, Steve Rimmer, and added to his impressive collection of rally cars, along side a Subaru Legacy RS that was also used by McRae in the early 1990’s.

The engine powering the car is a highly modified, turbocharged 2.0 Liter, inline 4 cylinder, 16 valve Duratec, based on the engine used in the Focus road cars. While the engine in the average road-going Focus only produces 130 horsepower and 135 lb/ft of torque, the rally car eclipses that with 300 bhp and a massive 406 lb/ft of rally road-destroying torque. Weighing in at only 2,700 pounds, the acceleration on this car is outrageous and is said to get from 0-60 in 4.2 seconds. Putting all of that power to the ground is the work of the Xtrac 6-speed Sequential gearbox, that sends the power to all four wheels through one of the most advanced active all-wheel drive systems ever fitted to a rally car. Keeping traction with the road is accomplished with Reiger Rally suspension, which is still used on most of the top rally cars today.

McRae-15

This Ford Focus RS WRC has been impeccably restored by the team who originally built and maintained the car. It has seen the dirt a few times since then, and now sits in the DirtFish showroom, flanked by other legendary cars including the Ford RS200, Richard Burns Subaru WRC99, an Audi Sport Quattro and Mk2 Ford Escort.

Article and Photos by: Trevor Wert (DirtFish)

McRae-8
McRae-14 McRae-12
McRae-18