With its eye-catch­ing liv­ery, rally-in­spired up­grades, and fe­ro­cious five-pot pow­er­plant, this Fo­cus RS is a true road racer

Fast Ford - - Contents - Words and pho­tos JON CASS

Rally-in­spired 400bhp RS takes its lead from the mighty Es­Cos.

We’ve seen Ian (Ely) Wright’s rally-in­spired RS on the show scene for a few years now, and al­though its eye-catch­ing Miche­lin liv­ery has be­come fa­mil­iar, the car has been con­stantly evolv­ing through­out that time. Ely has now pre­pared his RS to a stage where he’s happy for it to ap­pear in his favourite mag (Fast Ford, of course!), though he openly ad­mits it’ll prob­a­bly never be fully fin­ished!

His rally in­spired Fo­cus stems back to the

days when Ely watched a Lom­bard RAC rally and he’s been hooked on this hard­core form of mo­tor­sport ever since. “I’ve al­ways loved ral­ly­ing and rally-spec cars, es­pe­cially the Fords,” Ely smiles, “I’ve read Fast Ford since the first is­sue.” His first car may have been a lowly Mk1 Fi­esta 1.1 Pop­u­lar but that soon re­ceived a more po­tent 1300 Su­pers­port en­gine trans­plant along with a full re­spray and bucket seats. “My CB han­dle (if you re­mem­ber those?) at the time was Furry Dice, so I al­ways had furry dice hang­ing from the rear view mir­ror!” he laughs. An im­mac­u­late XR3i came next later fol­lowed by a fully-loaded Cougar 2.5 V6 – a car which he kept hold of for eight years. Other cars and bikes (which hap­pens to be Ely’s other main pas­sion) came and went, but it was af­ter the pur­chase of this 2009 Fo­cus RS that the mod­ding re­ally went into over­drive.

“I bought this one-owner Per­for­mance Blue RS from Derby, it was in great con­di­tion,” Ely re­calls, “hardly any­thing needed do­ing to it other than get­ting rid of the strong smell of per­fume inside!” This is Fo­cus RS num­ber 198 from 11500, so it’s quite an early ex­am­ple and at first Ely had no in­ten­tions of mod­i­fy­ing it at all. “Then I went to my first show with the RST club and saw Gareth West­wood’s beast with its care­fully cho­sen mods and spot­less en­gine bay,” he re­mem­bers, “Paul Markham’s im­mac­u­late ST re­ally stood out and won the best car on our stand that day, but the car that re­ally had a ma­jor in­flu­ence was Richard Scott’s fully rally in­spired RS –

see­ing that car re­ally blew me away!”

Hav­ing now wit­nessed the RS’s po­ten­tial as a full-on replica rally car, Ely knew this was the di­rec­tion he would take his own Fo­cus. The ad­di­tion of mods be­gan modestly with a Co­bra Sport ‘Venom’ ex­haust, a tracker (for added se­cu­rity) and 20mm wheel spac­ers. Things soon got more se­ri­ous with a Stage 4 in­ter­cooler from Airtec, Anembo in­let plenum, and a Stage 2 map to around 360bhp by G&R Per­for­mance. “I had a full en­gine bay hy­dro-dip in blue and black and sourced some an­odised coloured bolts with RS lo­gos to brighten it up for shows,” Ely adds. At­ten­tion then turned to the in­te­rior with dig­i­tal di­als po­si­tioned on the A pil­lar while 20in Zito rims set this RS apart from stan­dard ex­am­ples.

Progress was swift, but Ely’s RS still re­tained the ap­pear­ance of a mod­i­fied road car as op­posed to a rally car for the road. “I wanted the Fo­cus to re­ally stand out and it was Mal­colm Wil­son’s Es­cort Cosworth rally car I took in­spi­ra­tion from, though it was Ryan Tay­lor who help­fully sug­gested the liv­ery” he ex­plains, “I then ap­proached Blue­print to see if they could pro­vide a Miche­lin Pi­lot liv­ery with sim­i­lar graph­ics to the Wil­son Es­cort.” As ever, they came up trumps and pro­vided a sun­shine yel­low wrap adapted for the Fo­cus which con­trasts per­fectly with the rear, which keeps its orig­i­nal Per­for­mance Blue.

To com­ple­ment the fresh wrap there’s now an im­pos­ing WRC 4-spot light pod with car­bon sur­round bolted to the bon­net, while at the rear is a full WRC wing painted in gloss black with lo­gos, and rear wiper now deleted. Al­ready the RS was be­gin­ning to turn heads and grad­u­ally Ely has added a KMS roof scoop along­side the KMS cam­era pod and WRC vents to help with cool­ing. “I also had front and rear split­ters and side skirts wrapped to match,” Ely adds, “and more re­cently I’ve had poly­car­bon­ate side win­dows fit­ted with WRC slid­ers.”

The RS’s exterior has such a huge im­pact at first glance it’s easy to ig­nore the

“I wanted the Fo­cus to re­ally stand out and it was Mal­colm Wil­son’s Es­cort Cosworth rally car I took in­spi­ra­tion from...”

de­tails and there are plenty of them! The be­spoke rear dif­fuser, ‘fly-eye’ head­lights, yel­low light eye­brows and Miche­lin man bon­net stay are all neat ad­di­tions. And it’s easy to miss those cool car­bon fi­bre 3D dig­its on the num­ber plates too, an un­usual mix of old-meets-new.

By now the Zito rims were be­gin­ning to look out of place with the con­vinc­ing rally look and when Ely was of­fered the chance to buy a set of 18in Fif­teen52 Tur­bo­macs in white, he knew they’d look right at home on his rally-style RS. “The tyre wall is thicker now too, and with Miche­lin rub­ber it han­dles like a go kart,” Ely laughs.

Since the fit­ment of the dig­i­tal gauges, the in­te­rior has seen some dramatic changes too. A Pel­tor full in­ter­com sys­tem with head­phones was an early pur­chase be­fore Ely had the dash flocked and door cards re­placed with black car­bon­ate. All di­als and vent sur­rounds are now colour coded yel­low and Miche­lin Pi­lot di­als added. Noth­ing ma­jor yet you may be think­ing, but Ely was keen to con­tinue the rally theme in a big way inside too, af­ter all this is where he’d be spend­ing much of his time with the car. The rear seats have now de­parted to be re­placed by a false floor and match­ing car­pet, room enough to fit a be­spoke rear roll cage again in yel­low. “I’d fit­ted a Sum­mit front strut brace to help stiffen up the front end, but I also wanted the cage to stiffen up the rear end of the chas­sis and had it welded on to the struts,” Ely tells us, “I also needed to be able to un­bolt it if I ever needed to put the rear seats back in, so some fab­ri­ca­tion work was needed.” The stan­dard steer­ing wheel has been re­placed by a de­tach­able OMP wheel and boss, but it’s that CAE quick­shifter that’s a true work of art and re­ally trans­forms the in­te­rior and driv­ing feel. Clever ad­di­tions are the be­spoke head­rests, made from spotlight cov­ers filled with foam for ex­tra pad­ding and at­tached by Vel­cro through the seat cov­ers which Ely of­ten uses.

Hav­ing 360bhp on tap cer­tainly isn’t

shy, but as we so of­ten hear, Ely had be­come used to the power and was search­ing for more. A car­bon fi­bre cold air in­take is now in place while Airtec sup­plied the cross­over pipe and lat­est in­ter­cooler. The ad­di­tion of 550cc in­jec­tors and a remap now see this RS pro­duc­ing around 400bhp, though we’re pretty sure this is likely to in­crease in the near fu­ture. A sen­si­ble pur­chase was the stronger Sachs clutch which should cope with the ex­tra power. The Venom tur­boback ex­haust still pro­vides the sound­track, but that could soon give way to a KMS Sec­tion 18 sys­tem. “Other changes likely soon are a swap to BC Rac­ing coilovers, and swap­ping the stan­dard mir­rors to smaller GTR ones.” Ely points out. Then there’s the big­ger brakes and new WRC rear wing… like we said, this car is con­stantly evolv­ing!

Some RS purists might frown upon the changes Ely has made to his Fo­cus, but the pos­i­tive re­ac­tions the car usu­ally re­ceives con­firms he’s done the right thing and we’d agree too. “Hav­ing peo­ple com­pli­ment my car, young and old seems to keep me go­ing and helps to push things for­ward,” Ely tells us, “I don’t do this to gain favour or win tro­phies, the so­cial side of shows is as im­por­tant to me as the cars them­selves. Project bud­gets and com­mit­ments vary so much, I tend to look at all cars equally. It’s great to see peo­ple from all walks of life get­ting out there and be­com­ing in­volved.”

Un­doubt­edly by the time the 2019 sea­son be­gins, Ely’s RS will have seen yet more changes, but as far as cre­at­ing an eye-catch­ing road-go­ing rally replica is con­cerned, we reckon he’s al­ready there.

Cus­tom ‘Miche­lin Pi­lot’ dash is a nice touch Dig­i­tal gauges live on a flocked A-pil­lar pod

CAE shifter looks the part and makes you feel like a rally driver ev­ery time you change gear

With a liv­ery like this, what tyres did you ex­pect!? The en­gine bay is nicely dressed, but don’t be fooled - there’s still the best part of 400bhp lurk­ing in there!

Even the fire ex­tin­guisher has been colour-coded! Rear cage has been cus­tomised to suit Ely’s re­quire­ments

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