Ford’s new Puma Rally 1 WRC car has starred in a stunt sequence to celebrate the one millionth car rolling off the production line at the firm’s Craiova factory in Romania.
Filmed at the plant itself, with appearances from the standard Ford Puma – which is currently built there – and several plant employees, the film (below) shows the M-Sport team’s hybridised racer driven in anger by WRC driver Adrien Fourmaux, ahead of its competition debut in Monte Carlo on 20 January.
The Craiova facility entered operation in 2009, and has produced the Transit Connect, B-Max MPV, Ecosport and Puma over the last 12 years. The millionth car was a Puma ST-Line in Desert Island Blue.
The new Puma WRC car was revealed earlier this year at the Goodwood Festival of Speed by Ford’s Cumbria-based M-Sport rally team. It is built to the new WRC technical regulation that will be introduced for next year. The rules retain the current 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engines, but add a spec 134bhp hybrid electric motor, powered by a 3.9kWh battery. The cars will also run on sustainable fossil-free fuel.
M-Sport has run the Fiesta WRC since 2011, when it was Ford’s global WRC team. Although it has been a privateer squad since 2012, it has maintained close ties with Ford, which is keen to showcase the performance credentials of both the Puma crossover and its hybrid technology.
M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson said: “The new era of WRC cars is one of the biggest technological advancements in WRC to date. The introduction of the hybrid means that the cars will be more powerful than ever whilst also directly reflecting the powertrains within their road-going counterparts.”
He described the switch to the Puma as “very exciting”, noting that the nameplate has a rally history.