Two generations of Ford rally cars posted on 03 September 2011
Thirty years of motorsport development came under the spotlight when two Ford rally cars – separated by three decades of racing technology – were put to the test by British champions Gwyndaf and Elfyn Evans.
1996 British Rally Champion Gwyndaf and 2010 Junior British Rally Champion Elfyn came together as part of the Ford Centenary Tour. They may be father and son but they were fierce rivals when they went head-to-head on a remote one-mile long rally stage in The Snowdonia National Park.
The Ford Centenary Tour is visiting Ford dealers, Ford plants and taking part in special events all over the UK before culminating at the Goodwood Revival on September 16-18.
Gwyndaf drove a Viking Motorsport 1980 Ford Escort Mark 2, the iconic car of the late 1970s and early 80s in which many of the sport’s greatest names, including Roger Clark and Colin McRae, honed their skills. Elfyn, Gwyndaf’s 22 year-old son, sat comfortably in a 2011 Ford Fiesta R2 – car of choice for the World Rally Championship Academy.
The pair took turns handling the powerful vehicles and there was some surprise when Elfyn, one of British motorsport’s brightest young talents, admitted to being stunned by the physicality of driving the iconic Ford Escort Mark 2 with its 285bhp, two-litre engine.
“It’s a real driver’s car – the back end kicks out easily and with no power steering it’s much harder work than I am used to! Certainly with my Fiesta you don’t have to worry about the clutch and it is more predictable – it pretty much goes where you point it.”
And after powering the 165bhp Ford Fiesta R2 rally car – prepared by Gwyndaf’s own GEMotorsport in Dolgellau – around the stage, both drivers agreed how far Ford has advanced its rallying pedigree.
“It is so much easier compared to the brute of the Mark 2,” said Gwyndaf. “The difference is a combination of the development of the chassis, the steering, the brakes, the tyres and the suspension, which means modern technology just eats up this kind of terrain.
“They are both wonderful pieces of rallying technology of their time,” he said, “but I do know that every time I get out of the Escort I have a big grin on my face… and that sums it all up.”