Saturday, May 30, 2009

Gronholm goes after Pike’s Peak record with 800 hp Fiesta

New Ford Fiesta Rally Cross

Double World Rally Champion Marcus Gronholm will attempt to set a new record time for the Pike’s Peak International hill climb on 19 July in a four-wheel drive, 800 horsepower Ford Fiesta.

Marcus Gronholm - Andreas Eriksson

The Finn, 41, will be one half of a two car team entered by the Swedish Rallycross outfit Olsberg Motor Sport Evolution. The other car will be driven by the team’s owner, four-time Swedish rally champion Andreas Eriksson, 35.

The Pike's Peak International Hill Climb dates back to 1916 and is the second oldest motor sports event in America. It takes its name from the famous mountain peak that towers above Colorado Springs in the Rocky Mountains and is often referred to as 'The Race to the Clouds'.

Over the years the event has proved a popular attraction for stars of the WRC. In 1985 Audi Quattro driver Michele Mouton became the first woman to win it, while in 1988 Ari Vatanen and Juha Kankkunen famously took a one-two victory with Peugeot.

Two new Fiesta Rallycross cars will be driven in the ‘Unlimited Class’ at Pike’s Peak, in an attempt to be the first team to break the 10-minute mark over the 12.4-mile, 156-turn asphalt and gravel course. The existing record - 10min 01.41sec - was set in 2007 by former Suzuki World Rally Team boss, Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima driving a 3.6 litre twin turbo Suzuki XL-7.

The Olsbergs MSE Fiesta Rallycross car is powered by a 2.0-litre Duratec Ford engine capable of more than 800 horsepower.

“We are excited to be bringing the car to Pike’s Peak and to be able to see what it can do in such a unique competition,” said Eriksson. “It’s a legendary event, and we’ve already been there to take a look at the challenge we will face. I’m convinced we’ll be a top contender to break the 10-minute mark.

[Source : FORD, WRC]


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