Briton John MacCrone, Australian Brendan Reeves, Spaniard Jose Suarez and Swede Pontus Tidemand all got behind the wheel of the M-Sport-built challenger for an hour-long session on a two-kilometre temporary mixed-surface stage at Carlisle Airport in northwest England. It followed instruction from ex-WRC regular Matthew Wilson.
The prize was on offer to the winner of the WRC Academy rookie award. However, with overall champion Elfyn Evans also claiming this accolade, M-Sport, the company behind the WRC Academy in 2012 and the organisation responsible for preparing the identical Fiesta R2s, extended the prize to include the lucky quartet, who all excelled during WRC Academy season two.
After his run, 23-year-old MacCrone said: “It was such an incredible experience. The stage was really slippery, but it was unbelievable how you can just change direction so easily. Everything about the Fiesta, the power, the brakes, it’s just fantastic.”
Reeves, also 23, added: “Having the test drive makes me want to compete with one even more. We didn’t have the best end to the season, so to turn it around and come here with the chance to drive a car like this was just incredible.”
Suarez, 21, said: “This was the moment I have been waiting for all my life. It is an incredible car with incredible performance. I hope I can get to compete in a car like this one day.”
Twenty-one-year-old Tidemand said: “I really enjoyed it and tried to get as much out of it as I could. You never know if you will see me in a World Rally Car soon or not, but that is definitely my target. I work 100 per cent every day so I hope that that pays off in the end.”