The Fiesta RS WRC will yet be seen in its full race Ford Abu Dhabi livery, but will debut in the two-day snow and ice rally instead in white. This will be the last segment in team's comprehensive test and development program for the car before the FIA WRC season starts. The Arctic Rally also serves as the opening round of the Finnish Rally Championship where its first two legs cover a total of 231.46km on ten high-speed stages.
"The Fiesta RS WRC has covered thousands of kilometres in testing over the last four or five months. However, a traditional test cannot truly replicate genuine competition for learning about a car. We believe that going to the Arctic Rally will provide ideal preparation for both the team and the drivers ahead of Rally," said Ford Abu Dhabi team director Malcolm Wilson.
Finnish drivers Hirvonen and Latvala are looking forward to Arctic Rally, as it will be a home event for them both.
"The rally has a fantastic Arctic atmosphere, which is difficult to explain until you have witnessed it. It has great winter conditions for driving and the stages are fast, but sometimes quite technical. It's an ideal location to test the new car in a competitive way ahead of, and I'm excited that the team is coming to my home country again," remarked Hirvonen.
"At a normal test a driver covers the same section of road continuously and quickly learns how to drive it. Almost all the roads in the Arctic Rally are used only once, so it gives the team the opportunity to see how the car performs in competitive surroundings. The stages will be a similar length to a WRC round so it really will be a perfect test opportunity,” Latvala added.