FORD FOCUS WRC: THE AUTO-BIOGRAPHY OF A RALLY CHAMPION
Published 2017 by Veloce, which supplied the review copy ISBN 978-1-787110-20-5
Reviewed by: Mark Holman Seeing the name ‘Graham Robson’ as the author of a book about rallying is a good sign, and this one lives up to expectations. Covering the 1999–2010 seasons, he gives the fullest picture of this successful World Rally Championship ( WRC) Blue Oval car.
Starting with the final days of the Escorts, the book then covers the development of the newly introduced Focus as a rally car, in parallel with the growth of Malcolm Wilson’s team. Each season is covered in turn, along with the changes to car specs, drivers, and other key team personnel.
It’s not that long ago, but I think that the Focus looks a lot more like the production version than today’s be-winged WRC cars do. Nonetheless, under the skin, it was a different beast, and Robson’s book takes you through the various changes made to keep the model competitive. Along the way were many challenges, including Ford’s lack of long-term financial commitment, at times; a regular turnover of drivers; and strong competition from the likes of Citroën. Colin Mcrae was a star, but he became too expensive to retain. Other top Focus drivers included Carlos Sainz, Mikko Hirvonen, Markko Märtin, and Marcus Grönholm. The first WRC win for a Focus was Mcrae’s in the 1999 Safari Rally, and the last of its 44 victories came in Finland in 2010 with Jari-matti Latvala at the wheel. That’s a long career for a competition car, and this book gives an excellent and well-illustrated account of the Focus’s rallying ups and downs throughout those seasons.