Not so long ago, we were admiring the work of Sebastien Loeb at the 2022 Monte Carlo Rally, where he snatched victory with a Ford Puma despite having been out of full-time WRC competition since 2012. Rewinding the clock a couple of decades, and Ford had a very different-looking car for top-level rallying, plus another legend to slot behind the wheel: Colin McRae.
What you see here is the 1995 champ’s Focus WRC, which could be yours should there be £300,000 or so going spare in your savings account. Built by Cumbrian firm M Sport, still responsible for putting together Ford’s WRC cars today, it’s quite unlike the Focus road car of the day.
In contrast to the front-wheel drive-only showroom edition, all four wheels of the WRC machine were powered. Propelling both ends of the car was, as mandated the regulations of the time, a 2.0-litre inline-four twin-turbo engine kicking out around 300bhp.
McRae had a four-season-long stint with Ford, driving many iterations of the Focus, but this is arguably the most significant. The Scot steered this very 2021 ‘Y4 FMC’ car to three back-to-back victories in Argentina, Cyprus and Greece alongside co-driver Nicky Grist, putting him in touching distance of a second world title by the final round of the season.
Unfortunately, his typically committed style resulted in a colossal crash at the Rally of Great Britain featuring. Arch rival Richard Burns went on to win the rally and the championship in his Subaru Impreza WRC, taking the title by just two points.
M Sport rebuilt the Focus and fielded it a handful of times in the 2002 season before selling up. It enjoyed further competition use in the British BTRDA stage rally championship for a few years and more recently was treated to a “top to bottom” overhaul by a rally car specialist. Oh, and it’s now back in the Martini livery it wore in 2001.
The Focus is a far simpler beast than the hybrid Puma Ford and M Sport is currently running in the WRC and so it’s described by Silverstone Auctions as “eminently useable”. It’s also said to be “remarkably easy to drive”. Perfect for the weekly shopping trip. Maybe.
It’ll go under the hammer at the company’s RAF Museum sale in London on 5 March. The estimate is £300,000 - £350,000.