Junior British Rally Championship frontrunner Eddie Lewis enjoyed a return to the driver’s seat of his M-Sport Ford Fiesta R2 last week, after testing the new Rally4 upgrade kit ahead of the forthcoming M-Sport Return to Rally Stages.
Lewis, aged 18 from Newark, has been one of the very first in the UK to take delivery of the Rally4 kit from M-Sport Poland, which aligns the popular Fiesta R2 with the new Rally 4 regulations introduced by the FIA at the start of the year.
The rapid youngster was able to complete over 50 miles of testing in a private forest, to ensure he is ready to return to competition after Covid-19 decimated the rallying calendar, forcing the British Rally Championship to cancel its season after just one round.
The new event, planned for 22nd August in Greystoke Forest in Cumbria, is only open to M-Sport manufactured Ford Fiesta or Focus derivatives and Lewis is eager to secure a good result in the revitalised machine.
The Motorsport UK Academy Squad Member had enjoyed a positive start to the season, narrowly missing out on Junior BRC podium at the Cambrian Rally in February. Only a puncture and steering issues kept him away from the champagne spray, but his run saw a handful of fastest times in the hotly contested single-make, Ford Fiesta series on his way to fourth spot.
The series would come to a sudden halt in March due to Covid-19 however and Lewis was unable to build on his opening round result, round two of the championship in Ireland being cancelled just hours before the start.
Despite the €60,000 prize fund towards a 2021 campaign in the FIA Junior World Rally Championship thanks to M-Sport and Pirelli being put on hold for a season, Lewis was eager to ensure he “wasn’t standing still” in the enforced downtime and secured one of the first Rally4 kits to come to the UK.
Offering a significant torque and brake horsepower increase, as well as improved gear ratio’s and strengthened driveshafts, Lewis was eager to test the new components ahead of the M-Sport Stages and carried out an extensive run in the dusty Brenig forest complex in North Wales.
The energised Fiesta impressed Lewis, straight out of the box.
“M-Sport Poland has done a great job with the new Rally4 kit,” he said.
“The power and handling improvements that have been added to an already strong Fiesta R2 will make a very tough car to beat. We made some good progress with the set up so hopefully, that will stand us in good stead going into the M-Sport Stages at the end of the month”.
The M-Sport Stages will be the first stage rally to take place since the Covid-19 pandemic brought a halt to the sport and will run to strict safety measures and social distancing guidelines.
Eddie is backed by Mechanical Solutions, SSSI Ltd, Newark Steel, John Haugland Winter Rally School, Speedline Corse & Pirelli.