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The decision of the stewards at Rally Catalunya, with the ensuing financial penalty (Euros 30,000), that the device intended to cool the ECUs on their new turbocharged Fiesta R2 cars was not acceptable, came as an unwelcome surprise to M-Sport.   

It arose out of a routine inspection of the car used by the private RMC team, which then led to inspection of the similar R2T cars used by the Drive DMack Fiesta Trophy.  

No penalty was issued against the competitors, only against M-Sport who handled the homologation of the type, under the regulation which stated “what is not expressly authorised … is prohibited”.   

The offending modifications were the addition of a protection piece surrounding the ECU and a cooling duct between the front bumper opening and this piece.  

What now?  There are around 60 R2T cars  in existence, half of which have been fully built at M-Sport Poland, who handle all M-Sports two-wheel drive rally work, all built up from kits.  

M-Sport headquarters have stated they “are working on a solution and will inform all customers in due course”.
 
Currently there are ongoing discussions for the next set of R2 regulations, aimed at trying to help reduce costs further.  

M-Sport Customer Manager, Richard Millener, said: “Exactly how they (reduce costs) at the moment and how they control the performance of the car is still being discussed.  

“It is quite a big thing because manufacturers already have R2s which might not then fit into the category if they change the regulations in the suggested way.  

“Each manufacturers has their own views.  Since our car was originally homologated in 2015, we ourselves are already developing an alternative version intended to make it a cheaper car, aimed primarily at national one-make championships.”
 
- Martin Holmes  

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