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Pikes Peak Hillclimb - 19 Jul 09

Posted: July 23, 2009 8:26 PM - 7293 Hits

Video Clip - Ford Fiesta RallyCross storms Pikes Peak

Posted: July 23, 2009 8:28 PM


Posted: July 23, 2009 8:26 PM

As a two-time World Rally Champion, Marcus Grönholm had seen just about everything in a rally course . . . until he came to Pikes Peak.

Grönholm drove his production based Ford Fiesta rallycross car, prepared by Olsbergs Motor Sport Evolution, to second in the ‘Unlimited Class’ and fifth fastest time overall at the 87th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb at Colorado Springs in the United States yesterday (Sunday). Grönholm captured Pikes Peak 'Rookie of the Year' honours as he posted a run of 11min 28.963sec up the 12.4-mile, 156-turn course which runs up the famous Pikes Peak Highway.

Grönholm fought not only the high altitude and diverse road and weather conditions on the famed course, which climbs from around 2800 metres to just over 4200 metres at an average rate of ascent of seven per cent, but also a mechanical issue with the turbo charger on his 800-horsepower Fiesta rallycross car which resulted in a power reduction during the crucial final climb to the top.

"I always wanted to compete at Pikes Peak,” said Grönholm. "Having been here over the last week I have to admit that it is one of the most challenging events I have ever done in my career. This is one of those events that you will want to tell people that you came and competed in.

"I had heard about Pikes Peak and seen the famous film shot on the mountain with Ari Vatanen 20 years ago, but only when you come here do you realise how much of a challenge it is.

"The handling of the Fiesta is absolutely fantastic, and the BF Goodrich tires were great. Unfortunately we had a few small problems on the run today. I lost some power during the last few kilometres, but I was determined to finish. The Fiesta has huge potential, and could beat the 10-minute record. If I come back I know what we need to do to be fastest," added the 41-year-old Finn.

Team-mate Andreas Eriksson’s first trip to Pikes Peak was cut short in Engineer’s Corner (2 mile mark) when two tyres slipped off their rim and sent the Olsbergs MSE Fiesta off course where it clipped a tree and sustained damage to the rear wing.

The retirement brought an end to a frustrating introduction for Eriksson to the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. "I'm disappointed because the car was handling fantastic through the early portion of the course," he said. "Overall it was a tough week. We had a lot of challenges, but we learned a lot and I know what I need to do now to come back and be fastest.

"While it is still a year until the new Ford Fiesta comes to America it was a great opportunity to showcase the versatility and performance capabilities of the car at one of the most challenging motorsports events in the world," said Jost Capito, Ford Motor Company Director of Global Motorsports Business Development. "The Olsbergs MSE team did an outstanding job competing at Pikes Peak for the first time and now they have an opportunity to campaign their Fiestas at the X Games (30 July - 2 August)."

In Europe, the Fiesta name has long been synonymous with outstanding driving quality, design and value. The all-new Ford Fiesta is set to bring that three-decade heritage to North American consumers when the car goes on sale there next year.

Results, Video Clips and Photos:

Posted: July 23, 2009 8:24 PM

Photos from Practice

Posted: July 16, 2009 2:50 PM


Posted: July 16, 2009 2:50 PM

Mach 2 Racing team is aiming to be the first to beat the elusive ten-minute barrier at the legendary Pikes Peak International Hillclimb event on Sunday 19 July.

The all-British team is entering the famous race up the Pikes Peak mountain in Colorado Springs, USA, with a 1,150bhp four-wheel-drive Ford RS200 driven by double ex-British Rallycross Champion Mark Rennison, from Darlington.

The 12.4-mile course starts at 9,440 feet and ends at an altitude of 14,110 feet. Its 156 turns, mixture of asphalt and gravel surfaces and sheer drops of up to 6,000 feet make it one of the toughest challenges in motorsport.

"First and foremost, we just want to win, but it would be really nice to do that and crack the ten-minute barrier," said team principle Alan Greenwood.

"The car is in the best shape it's ever been in, and with ex-rallycross champion Mark Rennison behind the wheel this year, I think we stand the best chance ever of getting to the summit in under ten minutes. Nobody has ever done it and we want to be the first."

Mark Rennison was racing a Ford RS200 when he won the 1987 British Rallycross Championship. He won every one of the one of the seven rounds of the championship, an achievement which has never been matched. He went on to win the championship again the following year, with the same car.

"We tested several types of tyre and the Avon rallycross tyres just transformed the car," he said.

"Although this is my first time at Pikes Peak, we have had extensive test sessions and I am happy with the car's handling. The acceleration is awesome, with a 0 to 60mph time of under two seconds and the 140mph maximum speed is achieved from standstill in about six seconds."

The Ford RS200 engine has been developed specifically for Pikes Peak by specialist race engine builder Geoff Page, from Maldon, Essex. The 2.4-litre race engine has a high-output, prototype Garrett turbocharger, which adjusts to changes in atmospheric pressure. That - together with special, high-octane race fuel - normally delivers 950bhp, but 70 litres of nitrous oxide gas boosts the power output to a mind-numbing 1,150bhp.

This will be Geoff's third trip to Pikes Peak with the car and he said of the event: "The start line at over 9,000 feet is high enough to leave anyone short of breath. The steep climb to the finish at over 14,000 feet punishes both drivers and their vehicles. As the drivers climb toward the summit, the thin air slows reflexes and saps muscle strength - plus it progressively robs engines of up to 40 percent of their power at the summit.

"Our combination of a very special turbocharger, the boost from the nitrous gas and very sophisticated electronics should give us a significant advantage over the rest, especially at high altitude. But - and it's a big but - up there in the mountains, even in mid-summer, the weather changes by the hour, and on race day, you only get one single run."

Adam Bennett, the race engineer, is based at Bradwell-on-Sea, Essex. He has been rebuilding the car for the past six months and said: "One of our objectives was to make the car as light as possible. First of all, we stripped the car to the bare chassis and carefully rebuilt it using lightweight components wherever possible. The target was to shave away 100kgs and we more than achieved that. The car with driver and full tanks will now sit on the startline at 1000kgs. The overall gearing is low, for improved acceleration and the maximum speed is only 140mph."

The team will practice on different sections of the hillclimb between 15 and 17 July, with each competitor getting just a single timed run up the full course on Sunday 19 July.

List of Competitors available:

Posted: June 13, 2009 11:32 PM

Marcus Grönholm to drive Rallycross Ford Fiesta.

Posted: May 28, 2009 9:53 PM

The new Ford Fiesta may not be hitting the streets of America officially until next year, but high-performance motorsport examples of the car will make their U.S. racing debut this summer when the Olsberg Motor Sport Evolution team from Sweden, managed by Andreas Eriksson, brings two new Fiesta Rallycross cars to compete in the annual Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado on July 19.

“The new Fiesta is an engaging, fun to drive car that is off to a very successful start in Europe and Asia,” said Jim Farley, Group Vice President, Ford Global Marketing and Communications. “Thanks to Andreas Eriksson, we’re able to introduce the Fiesta to racing fans in the U.S. ahead of its launch in 2010.”

The Pike's Peak International Hill Climb dates back to 1916, and is the second oldest motor sports event in America, taking its name from the famous mountain peak that towers above Colorado Springs in the Rocky Mountains and is often referred to as 'The Race to the Clouds'.

Ford cars have been at Pike’s Peak since the very first race in 1916, when four Ford-powered cars competed. In 1922, Ford scored its first victory when Noel Bullock took his 179ci, OHV, 50 hp Ford Special, nicknamed “Tin Lizzy” by the other competitors, to a surprise victory in the time of 19:50.9.

The two Fiestas will be driven by Eriksson and rally legend Marcus Grönholm in the ‘Unlimited Class’ at Pike’s Peak, in an attempt to be the first team to break the 10-minute mark over the 12.4-mile, 156-turn pavement and gravel course.

Andreas Eriksson, 35, is a four-time Swedish rally champion, with multiple Rallycross victories, and Marcus Grönholm, 41, is one of World Rallying’s greatest drivers, with two world championships and 30 WRC victories on his resume.

“We’re pleased to have a top independent team like Olsbergs MSE coming to the U.S. with their Fiesta Rallycross cars to take on the challenge of Pike’s Peak,” said Brian Wolfe, director, Ford North America Motorsports. “This will be a great chance for enthusiasts here to see in this unique setting what a lot of the rest of the world is already talking about – that the Fiesta is a great road car and a great race car.”

Ford Motor Company's director of Global Motorsport Business Development, Jost Capito, said: "The Pike's Peak event is another step forward for the new Ford Fiesta as a core vehicle in Ford's future global motorsport aspirations. We're looking forward to seeing Andreas and Marcus in action on this unique event."

After finishing second in the Swedish championship last year, Olsberg’s MSE team debuted its new Fiesta Rallycross car for this season's Swedish and European Rallycross championships, and it scored its first victory in just its second European championship event in Portugal this past month.

The Olsbergs MSE Fiesta Rallycross car is based on both the Fiesta hatchback model road cars. The all-wheel-drive Fiestas are powered by a 2.0-liter Duratec Ford engine capable of more than 800 horsepower.

The Fiesta Rallycross car's suspension system is the result of collaboration between Olsbergs Motor Sport Evolution, Öhlins and Ford of Europe's Team RS engineers, who are responsible for Ford’s FIA World Rally Championship program.

“We worked night and day all winter to get the Fiesta ready on time for the European championships, and it was great to see it score a hard-earned victory in Portugal at the start of May,” said Eriksson. “We are excited to be bringing the car to Pike’s Peak and to be able to see what it can do in such a unique competition. It’s a legendary event, and we’ve already been there to take a look at the challenge we will face. I’m convinced we’ll be a top contender to break the 10-minute mark and give the Fiesta a proper racing debut in the U.S.”

Ford Racing North America, although not directly involved in the project, will assist the team with logistical support while it is in America.


Posted: May 28, 2009 9:37 PM

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is the second oldest motor sports race in America and a long-standing tradition in Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region. First competed in 1916 and this year marks the 87th running of the "Race to the Clouds". In 2009, the race will take place on Sunday, July 19 with race related events all week long. Fan Fest, is expected to draw over 35,000 participations will move to Friday, July 17 in Downtown Colorado Springs.

The race is run on a 12.42 mile course that begins at 9,390 feet and finishes at the 14,110 foot summit of America’s Mountain; Pikes Peak! As the drivers climb toward the summit, the thin air slows reflexes and saps muscle strength. The thin air also robs engines of 30% of their power at the summit. Competitors and vehicles must be in top shape simply to finish...let alone win!

This year''s race has 11 classes and features a variety of automotive, semi truck, exhibition, open wheel, super stock car, pro truck and motorcycle classes with a field approaching 200 competitors.

Race Week begins Tuesday, July 14 with Tech Inspection at the Host Hotel – Crowne Plaza. Every vehicle undergoes a rigorous inspection, concentration on safety issues. That evening there are meetings for all the riders and drivers and rookie competitors, also at the Crowne Plaza. Practice and qualifying takes place Wednesday through Friday from 5:30 to 8:30 AM on Pikes Peak.

Event Website:

Posted: May 28, 2009 9:34 PM

Topics: Pikes Peak 

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