Razvan Vlad, MAXYrally
Fiesta ST – Group A
Email received from Razvan Vlad, Australia in March 2012:
The car was originally build using a Ford Fiesta ST150 production car and the Group N M-sport kit. We did two seasons with it in this spec, and managed to win both the State and National 2WD Rally Championship in Australia. In 2012 we decided to upgrade it to Group A, which allows for significant engine modifications and some weight saving. We spoke to Steve at SBD Motorsport about the engine and he recommended one of their Duratec taper throttle body kits with some changes to make it compliant to the FIA Group A regulations.
The parts arrived in Australia and Steve provided all the info required to build the engine. The head was modified in the MAXYrally workshop, keeping the intake and exhaust ports standard but improving the flow significantly. A Cosworth intake manifold and single throttle body was used, together with a K&N air cleaner and MAXYrally bespoke cold air intake.
The MBE94A was supplied by SBD with a base tune, the wiring loom and all the sensors. The installation was very easy, just a plug and play job – everything worked first time, the display came to life and the engine started straight away.
SBD also supplied the fuel system, which includes two fuel pumps, the filters, a fuel regulator, new injectors and a surge tank (to overcome the fuel starvation problems that are specific to the standard Fiesta ST). With the new system we managed to run the car with only a few liters of fuel in the main tank and still did not experience any drops in the fuel pressure.
The engine develops a lot more power than the Group N unit, with a wider torque curve, and it can also rev higher than before. The Fiesta feels quicker, more responsive, and a lot more like a purpose built rally car. We still have to test how reliable the Sadev 5 speed dog box and drive shafts can handle the the extra power, but this is something that must be done on the rally stages.
Overall the Group A upgrade required a lot of work, but it was definitely made easier by using all the experience that SBD has with Duratec engines.