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Team O’Neil, Left Foot Braking, Roller Coasters, and the Ford Fiesta

By Peter Dushenski

Rally aspirations don’t really suit the Ford Fiesta.

It’s no Subaru WRX, no Mini Countryman, not even a Citroen DS3. It’s a subcompact bought by teenagers and retirees. For this exact purpose it needs to be fuel efficient, safe, easy to see out of, and logical to operate. It can even have a dose of fun, just to raise it above the pack, but not so much that it overwhelms the Fiesta’s calling card – it’s a small car that feels bigger and more mature than it is. See our earlier review if you don’t believe us.

Rally cars, on the other hand, are AWD, sequentially shifting, turbocharged purveyors of the kind of fizz more commonly found in alka selzer. The Ford Fiesta that you and I can buy is none of these things. But defeat the ABS and TC and the Fiesta gains a cool unflappability on gravel that makes it a shrewd tool for hills, crests, and sweeping forest gaps that define rally courses. Of course, the car alone isn’t enough to conquer the shifty surface. For that, something called “technique” is relied upon.

Which is what brought CarEnvy to New Hampshire and the Team O’Neil Rally Driving School with a bunch, nay, a fleet of seemingly unsuitable Fiestas. The technique du jour? The black art of Left Foot Braking, also known as LFB.

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WRC News: Ken Block’s Monster World Rally Team Joining Fray from 2010!

Ah, Ken Block. Is there anything you can’t do?

Apparently not. Follow the jump for more.

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F1 Driver News Roundup: Yes, Virginia, There Is A Schumacher

283797989__commission_schumacher As both the title of this post and the photo to the left of this text indicate, you may soon be seeing Michael Schumacher return to an F1 track near you—not as any mere consultant, either, but as an actual driver. However, you may also note the lack of red anywhere in that photo. That, too, is indicative of a future that’s looking more and more likely as of this writing. Follow the jump for more.

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Rallye du Var: Rally Prowess Runs in the Loeb Family

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What’s that, you say? No 2009 WRC round in France? That’s OK. French fans instead got a treat when multiple world champion Sebastien Loeb brought the show to them once again, at the ultimate round of the French National Championship at Rallye du Var. Follow the jump for more.

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Ken Block Is Clinically Insane – Trax STI Car

Screen shot 2009-11-02 at 8.13.09 PM

If ever a rally driver exploited the power of the internet and went viral, it’s Ken Block. The man who made “gymkhana” and his own household names always keeps a busy schedule. Between filming his own nonsense, he was featured in an episode of Top Gear, has been rumoured to be working his way into a WRC seat, and now this. This. I scarcely know where to start.

It doesn’t handle particularly well, probably on account of the lifted ride height instituted to give the tracks clearance from the body, but the go-anywhere bad-assery more than makes up for it. And the reactions of skiers and snowmobilers is Mastercard priceless. I can see the commercial now…

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WRC: Mikko Hirvonen Wins Rallye Finland!

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Most of the attention in recent time has been on Citroën Total ace Sébastien Loeb, but BP Ford’s Mikko Hirvonen has kept the race for this year’s driver’s championship quite close. At his home event at this weekend’s Rallye Finland, he finally managed to overtake Loeb and as a result, now finds himself leading.

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F1 News: Auf Wiedersehen, BMW.

auf-wiedersehen

This probably won’t surprise many people, but BMW are quitting F1 at the end of 2009, it was announced yesterday.

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F1 News: Max Mosley Really Stepping Down As FIA President. Really.

ferrari-biographies-9 So who’s going to fill his shoes? Jean Todt (whom you may recall from such storied motorsport histories as, oh, FERRARI’S) is hoping that it will be him.

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