FIA WRC Academy Prize: Which path would you choose?

2013 will see the WRC Academy champion further integrated into the Ford ‘family’ with the opportunity to advance their career in the World Rally Championship (WRC) behind the wheel of either the Ford Fiesta R2 or the Ford Fiesta S2000. Currently leading the way in the championship standings, British rivals Elfyn Evans and Alastair Fisher can see the benefits of both options.

In consultation with the FIA, the series victor will be given the chance to join the M-Sport team for all 13 rounds of next year’s WRC season in an M-Sport prepared Fiesta R2 or, dependant on experience, five rounds of the 2013 season in the team’s award-winning Fiesta S2000.

Currently lying second in the overall standings following his dominant victory at the Acropolis Rally of Greece, Evans is considering the benefits of opting to contest all 13 rounds of next season’s championship. Back behind the wheel of the Fiesta R2, the 13-round package would see the WRC Academy champion gain vital experience of all championship rounds as well as exposing their potential around the globe as they look to further their rallying career.

Leading the WRC Academy standings just eight points ahead of Evans following a win in Portugal and a second place finish in Greece, Fisher would push for the more powerful Fiesta S2000, which would see the 2012 champion graduate to the next level of rallying with Ford’s ‘Ladder of Opportunity’. Despite only contesting five European events, the Fiesta S2000 package would allow the overall winner to adapt their driving style and demonstrate their pace in the more powerful generation rally car.

Whatever option the victorious driver wins, the crew will benefit from servicing alongside the Ford World Rally Team with a fantastic opportunity for promotion whilst collating a wealth of knowledge and experience from some of the sport’s most experienced drivers, co-drivers, engineers and technicians.
Speaking on the benefits of the Ford Fiesta R2 prize, Elfyn Evans said: “It is so hard to say which prize I would go for were I lucky enough to win just now. Even though I have been in the [Ford Fiesta] R2 for a few years now, to have the experience of all the WRC events would be great. Being able to network around the world would be a huge benefit. It really is such a hard decision!”

Speaking on the benefits of the Ford Fiesta S2000 prize, Alastair Fisher said: “If I were lucky enough to win at the end of the season, I think I would push for the [Ford Fiesta] S2000. I have been competing with the [Ford Fiesta] R2 for two years now and have come to the point in my career where I am ready to move up to the next level. I don’t think that doing the same rallies in the same car for the third time would be all that beneficial to me! I have driven the [Fiesta] S2000 on a couple of occasions already and it is really fun and enjoyable to drive. It is a proper rally car and I feel that I am ready to take the next step.”
– Credit: M-Sport.