Ken Block's hugely successful Gymkhana series has spawned countless imitations including some done with rusted-out piles of junk, R/C cars, boats, and even motorcycles. However, those were always outside Block's own network. Now, there's competition from within Block's title sponsor Ford.
To celebrate the 40th year of operation at a Romanian factory, Ford tapped Simone Tempestini, the country's two-time rally champion, to give the plant a birthday gift many wouldn't soon forget. To accomplish this, Tempestini took a Fiesta R5 rally car through the gates of the Craiova production plant and gave Block a run for his money.
Developed by M-Sport, the manufacturer of Ford's entire rally car lineup, the Fiesta R5 uses a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine coupled to a Sadev-sourced five-speed sequential gearbox withSadev front and rear differentials. The pint-sized engine makes 290 hp and has an anti-lag system that keeps the turbocharger spooled at all times. That's why it's spitting flames throughout the video.
As you'll see, the suspension needs to be able to take a beating, including hard berm hits and jumps. M-Sport used four Reiger external reservoir three-way adjustable dampers and a set of trick front and rear sway bars to keep the Fiesta R5 composed at all times.
The Craiova factory will also be one of the locations that will produce Ford's EcoSport compact crossover.
One part of the video to pay particular attention to, because it's A) awesome, and B) terrifying in its need for precision, is when Tempestini takes the Fiesta R5 through the posts of a car lift while a truck looms overhead. That space is remarkably tight for those who have never stood underneath one. That stunt had to have been nerve-racking for Tempestini. It was for us.
Source: Ford Romania via YouTube