Currently reading: 780+bhp Fiesta to run Pikes Peak
Ford to enter rallycross car in US to promote Fiesta ahead of 2010 sales

A 780+bhp Ford Fiesta will be driven by double world rally champion Marcus Gronholm in this year's Pikes Peak hillclimb, as part of Ford's plans to market the car in the US.

The Fiesta is due to go on sale in the US next year, and Ford is currently promoting it through a series of marketing initiatives. As well as the entry in Pikes Peak, it has lent 100 Fiestas to internet bloggers in order to create interest in the car, calling the project the Fiesta Movement.

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"The Pike's Peak event is another step forward for the new Ford Fiesta as a core vehicle in Ford's future global motorsport aspirations," said Ford's director of global motorsport business development, Jost Capito.

Click here for the full a full interview with Jost Capito on Ford's US plans

Gronholm has previously driven the Fiesta in European Rallycross events, where he has taken race wins since semi-retiring from the World Rally Championship. It is run by the Olsberg Motor Sport Evolution team from Sweden. A second Fiesta will be driven on the event by team owner and four-time Swedish rally champion Andreas Eriksson.

Likely rivals include multiple event winner Nobuhiro Tajima in a Suzuki and former British Rallycross champ Mark Rennison, who will use his Ford RS200. Tajima holds the course record at 10m 01.408s, setting it in a Suzuki XL7 with 1000bhp in 2007.

The Fiestas will run in the Unlimited class, which has no restriction on a car's power. The 2.0-litre Duratec engine has been retuned to produce around 780+bhp, according to Ford, and many of the car's components are taken from the Ford Focus WRC cars campaigned in the World Rally Championship.

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb was first run in 1916, making it America's second oldest motorsport event. The 12.4-mile course includes sections of gravel and asphalt, and includes 156 turns. It is commonly known as 'The race to the sky' because it begins at 2862 metres and runs up a mountain until 4300 metres.

Pikes Peak takes place on 19 July.

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