Well, that’s a turn up for the books. Ford has unveiled its all-new competitor for the 2022 World Rally Championship season… and as you can quite clearly see, it’s not a Fiesta.
Yep, as everyone else in the world seems to be doing right now, the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team has chopped in its compact little hatch and replaced it with a crossover.
A hybrid crossover too (very de rigueur). That’s because the Rally1 rules for WRC in 2022 require cheaper, simpler cars but with a 100kW electric motor and a 3.9kWh battery attached to the current turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engines.
The hybrid system is actually a plug-in (despite the fact that Ford doesn’t offer a Puma PHEV to Joe Public as of yet) meaning cars can travel between stages on EV power alone after a 25 minute charge. The electric motor will also be able to supplement the internal combustion engine for maximum power on certain special stages. Oh, and it’s worth noting that top level rallying is committing to using a sustainable fossil-free fuel in competition from next year.
M-Sport has signed up to a three-year agreement with the new WRC rules and the sport is still hoping to attract more manufacturers. Hyundai has already started testing its i20N-based hybrid, and once it’s been driven up the Goodwood hill a couple of times this weekend, this very Puma will go on to be Ford and M-Sport’s development car.
Thoughts on the switch, Internet?