Ford Sierra (Mk1) Profile

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Ford Sierra (Mk1) General Information

This must have been the car everybody was looking forward to with the start of groupA. Surely it is a shame that we lost the exciting Ford RS200. But the groupA Sierra was an interesting gamble in many aspects.

For a start Ford was in the same dilemma as most other manufacturers: They did not have the perfect rally car in their show rooms. They didn't have a small car of the right powerful configuration for a start, but they had the Sierra, larger than an Escort or Focus but with an exciting design well ahead of its time. And here they had the choice of either a Sierra with 4x4 or a Sierra with a turbo engine, when what they needed was a car combining both. So they homologated both and the first interesting gamble was: Which car to take to which rally?

As it happened, Ford decided to take the RWD but super powerful Sierra Cosworth to the Monte. But days before the event started and in contrary to weather reports, it started snowing heavily. In a hasted manoeuvre Ford managed to get at least one Sierra XR4x4 ready for the event. So their Monte 1987 2-car team consisted of one 4x4 car and one turbo car! For Sweden it was simple, the XR4x4. But from then on Ford usually choose the Cosworth. Its power and turbo-torque advantage was too much for the XR4x4 to make up through traction.

The other aspect is the excitement of these cars. Starting off with the XR4x4, the name is simpler than you would guess: It was a Sierra XR4 with 4x4. The XR was a 1980s sporty image tag for Ford, XR2 = sporty Fiesta, XR3 = sporty Escort, XR4 = sporty Sierra with the number indicating the market segment (in contrast to Australia/NZ, were XR6 and XR8 names are famous for a number of sporty cars but refer to the number of cylinders). However the XR4x4 was only homologated as a 5-door, even though a small number of early XR4x4s were made as a 3-door. Despite this basic combination of XR4 + 4x4 even the 3-door XR4x4 did not share the same shell, the unique side rear window and rear spoiler layout stayed exclusive to RWD XR4s only. But otherwise the XR4x4 shared many things with the "normal" XR4. Most notably the engine, which was for both cars always a 2.8 V6. Sometimes in early Sierra touring cars (mainly Andy Rouse in BTCC, but less known on German rally stages with Gustel Brusch) you find an XR4 Turbo, but this was not actually a Ford but an US market Merkur XR4Ti (Merkur, not Mercury, I think even Ford did not quite know the point of that very short lived brand) and the Merkur XR4Ti had a 2301cc 4-cylinder Turbo engine borrowed from the Ford Mustang Mk3 SVO. This Merkur XR4Ti not being offered on the European market, being RWD only and its engine never a challenge to the Cosworth, we can easily forget about it here.

Back to the XR4x4 using the typical XR4 2.8 V6 engine: This bears some importance. Although several other rally cars, like Lancia Stratos or the gN BMW 325iX, had 6-cylinder engines, the Ford unit was created first of all for luxury saloons as the Granada and not with a sporty car on mind. This may sound a little unfair, since before the Sierra XR4 this engine was also found in the Capri. And it was a nice engine, good torque, distinct sound. But it simply wasn't a good engine for tuning. Even though the engine was a classic in Ford's range for all the right reasons, with 160 road car BHP (the later 2.9 combined with a catalyst even only 150BHP) and 220 groupA BHP, in power this must be one of the weakest engines for its size even in its days. And V6 didn't exactly make it a light engine either. As examples: In groupN the Sierra XR4x4 had no more power than an Opel Kadett GSI 16v and in groupA the Sierra XR4x4 power compared to that of a groupN Sierra Cosworth. The XR4x4 was actually a clever design with 2/3rd of the power going to the rear wheels and as a result this was one of the rare 4x4 cars that indeed handled like a RWD despite improved traction. But since power compared to a Kadett (E) GSI 16v and since 4x4 eats torque, plus the size and weight of the car, it was a very interesting car with beautiful sound and good handling, but for stage times never likely to be the most attractive option.

The Ford Sierra Cosworth in turn had "adventure" written all over it. Well, it starts already off with the name. That Ford choose to give it the name of the famous tuning department Cosworth (made up of the surnames of Mike Costin, a former Lotus designer and Keith Duckworth, a former Ford works engineer) was already proof that this was meant to be an exciting car. The huge whale-tail rear spoiler contributed to it. The whale-tail spoiler became synonymous for a range of Ford Cosworth cars and in the case of the Sierra it extended straight from the roof and made this 3-door Sierra look long and brutal. And finally the engine was a piece of art. Cosworth took the 2.0 16v engine beyond 200BHP already in road trim, thanks to a huge Garrett turbo. The torque was massive and of course all this was RWD - not ideal for gravel rallies, but for the spectacle you just couldn't possibly wish for anything other than a RWD turbo! One thing is for sure, if things turned dull in rallying with the introduction of groupA, it certainly wasn't for Ford!

Unfortunately the Sierra never came to big successes in the World Championship. It won many national championships, virtually became the car to beat in Belgium, Auriol won the French Championship twice and he alongside Sainz are names that came to international fame because of this car, and the BRC at times even looked like a Sierra Cosworth one-makes-series. And in the WRC the Sierra Cosworth did seem to have the measure of the Audi, Mazda, Subaru, Opel & Volkswagen works teams but in the WRC in the first gA rallies the Lancia Delta was already further ahead than anybody thought. This didn't help and as well the one event where it was pretty clear the Sierra Cosworth could not be beaten, the Tour de Corse 1987, saw both works cars out by SS3 and a BMW M3 beat the Lancias instead! All in all, the big name the spectacular Sierra Cosworth has got, isn't it incredible that this car only managed one WRC event victory and that wasn't even a full works entry! This car most definitely was better than its results suggest!

In fact, when I start this chapter with the exciting choice of RWD OR 4x4 Sierra that Ford had for the first groupA season, this 1987 season also shows superbly that the Sierra was a good car but Ford just was going through such an unlucky period in the 1980s. For Monte Carlo early weather forecasts were simply as wrong as could be. Getting at least one XR4x4 at the start at the last minute for Stig Blomqvist, despite much bigger question marks over the legality of the Lancias and the Mazdas, Ford got their 4th place taken away and a $100.000 fine for a correct component showing the wrong sticker! (The car was homologated with a Bosch injection system, carried a Lukas injection, which was the identical part for Lukas being the UK importer of Bosch.) Meanwhile Kalle Grundel never ever rallied a RWD car before and his adventures in the RWD Cosy on a snowy Monte ended in losing a top10 place with an off on the very last stage! In Sweden it was XR4x4s full stop. Then Ford gave Portugal a miss as they were not keen on this event following the previous year's groupB accident involving and RS200 and were preparing for the Safari Rally instead. Strangely they took the RWD Cosy to East Africa, which looked odd for this race pedigree car, but Ford correctly observed that until that point the Safari was never won by a 4x4 car and torque mattered more than traction on that very special event. They were proven right, while a lesser known local driver took Grundel's seat, Stig Blomqvist in the Sierra Cosworth was in a commanding lead for the first third of the event! Then he retired when the ECU melted! Ford didn't take this problem serious, as this obviously happened for the exceptionally hot and dusty conditions in Africa. They better had taken it serious. The Tour de Corse next was always the one event of the season were everybody knew the Sierra Cosworth would be unbeatable. And Corsica surely is not as hot and dusty as Africa, yet it was the exact same melted ECU problem that had Blomqvist sidelined by SS3! Kalle Grundel crashing the other works car on SS1 did not improve Ford's case - nor that of Grundel for that matter, as Ford now sacked their nr.2 driver as well. Now however Ford took the ECU problem serious and therefore missed Acropolis and Argentina. It may seem very strange that Ford then choose the XR4x4 for the very smooth Rally NZ, but what WRC statistics don't show there was a genius logistics trick behind this. Ford sent 2 XR4x4 to the then very famous Hong Kong to Beijing Rally. Vatanen crashed but Blomqvist led most of the way to then finish 3rd after some last stage dramas. With most of the distance round the globe covered these cars were never meant to return to UK but were allocated to Ford NZ instead. And alongside Ford NZ's Brian Stokes, the 2nd car was driven in Rally NZ by Stig Blomqvist in 1987 and by Jimmy McRae in 1988. The next event 1000 Lakes saw the comeback of the Cosworths, again with Vatanen driving the Grundel car. 1000 Lakes, gravel, jumps, this surely should never have been the Cosy's best rally, but indeed they ended up 2nd & 3rd between an army of 4x4 cars! And this same 2nd & 3rd result between 4x4 cars trick was repeated on the November mud and gravel RAC Rally, even though only one works Cosy was at the start when Vatanen withdrew after his Dakar program navigator Bernard Giroux died in a power boat accident in South England only shortly before the event.

OK, that was a long explanation for only one season that didn't even go well. But I think it showed a thing or two. Maybe the XR4x4 was not the wise option, but the fact that Ford swapped between two very characterful types of cars already makes this program very interesting. And many people have forgotten the RWD Cosworth led Safari and came 2nd & 3rd on gravel in Finland and RAC. This gives a clue how good the car should have been on asphalt.

However for the 1988 season many teams realised close to road cars was not what groupA was about with the Lancia domination, and teams like Audi (200 T Quattro) or Renault (R11 Turbo) disappeared completely, while others reduced their programs. Same for Ford. Strangely enough in 1988 Blomqvist had several successes in an ERC program, while works supported private drivers Auriol won Tour de Corse, came 3rd in 1000 Lakes (as a Frenchman on his first start there and with RWD), Sainz led Portugal and San Remo - and maybe not to forget Blomqvist came 2nd in Sweden 1988 in the XR4x4 version again. There still was good speed in the Sierra Cosworth. But the big season should have been 1987. In 1989 we still had a few interesting Cosy starts at WRC level including Lovell & Cunico on Corsica, but the waiting game for a car combining 4x4 & turbo was long on by then.

Ford Sierra (Mk1) Related Content

Ford Sierra (Mk1) Evolutions

Model & Evo. (Activity)
Ford Sierra (Mk1) Cosworth (87-90) 300/6500 408/4500 4450.1720.1369 1175 (3.9) RWD (2608)
Ford Sierra (Mk1) XR4x4 (87-89) 220/5700 276/4100 4450.1716.1393 1200 (5.5) 4x4 (2611)

Random Ford Sierra (Mk1) Photos

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Ford Sierra (Mk1) Results

This is an unofficial Car Results list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego hh:mm:ss
10th. 1992 WRC Rallye de Portugal J. Miguel L. Lisboa #26 [UNKNOWN] 7:13:08
8th. 1990 WRC Rallye de Portugal M. Duez A. Lopes #16 [UNKNOWN] 6:54:11
9th. 1990 WRC Rallye de Portugal J. Santos M. Oliviera #17 [UNKNOWN] 6:55:14
15th. 1989 WRC Swedish Rally C. McRae D. Ringer #55 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
7th. 1989 WRC Tour de Corse F. Cunico M. Sghedoni #15 [UNKNOWN] 7:34:20
5th. 1989 WRC Rally New Zealand C. McRae D. Ringer #19 [UNKNOWN] 7:11:35
8th. 1989 WRC Rally New Zealand S. Al Hajri S. Bond #16 [UNKNOWN] 7:28:09
12th. 1989 WRC Rally of Great Britain J. McRae R. Arthur #21 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
11th. 1989 WRC Rally of Great Britain G. Evans H. Davies #39 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
17th. 1989 WRC Rally of Great Britain M. Lovell R. Morgan #34 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
19th. 1989 WRC Rally of Great Britain P. Doughty L. Jenkins #48 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
2nd. 1988 WRC Swedish Rally S. Blomqvist B. Melander #3 [UNKNOWN] 5:04:08
5th. 1988 WRC Rallye de Portugal S. Blomqvist B. Melander #3 [UNKNOWN] 6:55:39
1st. 1988 WRC Tour de Corse D. Auriol B. Occelli #8 [UNKNOWN] 7:12:04
5th. 1988 WRC Tour de Corse C. Sainz L. Moya #12 [UNKNOWN] 7:26:09
3rd. 1988 WRC Rally of Finland D. Auriol B. Occelli #9 [UNKNOWN] 4:45:15
5th. 1988 WRC Rally of Finland S. Blomqvist B. Melander #4 [UNKNOWN] 4:46:32
6th. 1988 WRC Rally of Finland C. Sainz L. Moya #14 [UNKNOWN] 4:46:41
5th. 1988 WRC Rallye San Remo C. Sainz L. Moya #11 [UNKNOWN] 6:12:59
7th. 1988 WRC Rallye San Remo S. Blomqvist B. Melander #6 [UNKNOWN] 6:29:58
11th. 1988 WRC Rallye San Remo J. van der Wauwer L. Manset #18 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
13th. 1988 WRC Rally of Great Britain J. van der Wauwer . UNKNOWN #37 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
49th. 1988 WRC Rally of Great Britain C. Lord R. Varley #51 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
30th. 1988 WRC Rally of Great Britain T. Smith . UNKNOWN #46 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
17th. 1988 WRC Rally of Great Britain M. Lovell T. Harryman #17 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
6th. 1988 WRC Rally of Great Britain S. Blomqvist B. Melander #3 [UNKNOWN] 7:34:22
7th. 1988 WRC Rally of Great Britain C. Sainz L. Moya #21 [UNKNOWN] 7:36:53
38th. 1987 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo C. Gardavot . UNKNOWN #31 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
6th. 1987 WRC Swedish Rally S. Blomqvist B. Berglund #2 [UNKNOWN] 4:14:30
9th. 1987 WRC Rallye de Portugal J. Santos M. Oliviera #14 [UNKNOWN] 7:52:0.59
8th. 1987 WRC Tour de Corse D. Auriol B. Occelli #11 [UNKNOWN] 7:44:16
7th. 1987 WRC Tour de Corse C. Sainz A. Boto #15 [UNKNOWN] 7:41:16
2nd. 1987 WRC Rally of Finland A. Vatanen T. Harryman #6 [UNKNOWN] 5:17:54
3rd. 1987 WRC Rally of Finland S. Blomqvist B. Berglund #3 [UNKNOWN] 5:18:51
4th. 1987 WRC Rallye San Remo D. Auriol B. Occelli #8 [UNKNOWN] 6:18:13
2nd. 1987 WRC Rally of Great Britain S. Blomqvist B. Berglund #3 [UNKNOWN] 5:30:16
3rd. 1987 WRC Rally of Great Britain J. McRae I. Grindrod #18 [UNKNOWN] 5:33:15
8th. 1987 WRC Rally of Great Britain C. Sainz A. Boto #26 [UNKNOWN] 5:49:16
16th. 1987 WRC Rally of Great Britain R. Stoneman R. Kernaghan #40 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
13th. 1987 WRC Rally of Great Britain C. Mellors . UNKNOWN #36 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00

Ford Sierra (Mk1) Retirements

This is an unofficial Car Model Retirements list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego Reason
Ret. 2009 IRC RAC MSA Rally J. McRae . UNKNOWN #0 [UNKNOWN] SS0 only course opening car
Ret. 1995 WRC Rally of Great Britain P. Mellory S. Mee #137 [UNKNOWN] SS24 transmission
Ret. 1992 WRC Rally Australia (WA) E. Jurvanen M. Berglund #24 [UNKNOWN] SS0 withdrawn before start
Ret. 1990 WRC Rally of Great Britain J. McRae D. Senior #25 [UNKNOWN] SS3 crash
Ret. 1990 WRC Tour de Corse M. Duez A. Lopes #8 [UNKNOWN] SS17 engine
Ret. 1989 WRC Rally of Great Britain R. Brookes N. Wilson #33 [UNKNOWN] SS15 crash
Ret. 1989 WRC Rally of Great Britain F. Cunico T. Harryman #25 [UNKNOWN] SS32 crash
Ret. 1989 WRC Rally of Great Britain C. McRae D. Ringer #27 [UNKNOWN] SS32 crash
Ret. 1989 WRC Rally Australia (WA) S. Al Hajri S. Bond #22 [UNKNOWN] SS26 differential
Ret. 1989 WRC Rally New Zealand J. McRae R. Arthur #5 [UNKNOWN] SS18 crash
Ret. 1989 WRC Rally New Zealand B. Stokes I. Latham #23 [UNKNOWN] SS21 fuel pump
Ret. 1989 WRC Tour de Corse M. Lovell R. Morgan #20 [UNKNOWN] SS6 withdrawn
Ret. 1989 WRC Tour de Corse P. Baroni M. Rousseau #11 [UNKNOWN] SS17 crash
Ret. 1989 WRC Rallye de Portugal J. Santos M. Oliviera #11 [UNKNOWN] SS3 crash
Ret. 1988 WRC Rally of Great Britain R. Droogmans R. Joosten #26 [UNKNOWN] SS16 crash
Ret. 1988 WRC Rally of Great Britain D. Llewellin P. Short #9 [UNKNOWN] SS29 crash
Ret. 1988 WRC Rally of Great Britain R. Brookes N. Wilson #28 [UNKNOWN] SS13 crash
Ret. 1988 WRC Rally of Great Britain R. Dunkerton . UNKNOWN #42 [UNKNOWN] SS30 crash
Ret. 1988 WRC Rally of Great Britain P. Collins B. Thomas #43 [UNKNOWN] SS24 crash
Ret. 1988 WRC Rallye San Remo D. Auriol B. Occelli #4 [UNKNOWN] SS10 crash
Ret. 1988 WRC Rally of Finland P. Bos G. Thimonier #60 [UNKNOWN] SS4 ?
Ret. 1988 WRC Rally New Zealand J. McRae R. Arthur #2 [UNKNOWN] SS2 engine
Ret. 1988 WRC Rally New Zealand B. Stokes . UNKNOWN #10 [UNKNOWN] SS27 engine
Ret. 1988 WRC Acropolis Rally M. Bin Sulayem R. Morgan #18 [UNKNOWN] SS2 electrics
Ret. 1988 WRC Safari Rally J. Hellier D. Williamson #12 [UNKNOWN] SS73 sump
Ret. 1988 WRC Rallye de Portugal C. Sainz L. Moya #15 [UNKNOWN] SS3 engine
Ret. 1988 WRC Rallye de Portugal D. Auriol B. Occelli #11 [UNKNOWN] SS16 rear axle
Ret. 1988 WRC Rallye de Portugal J. Santos M. Oliviera #17 [UNKNOWN] SS17 gearbox
Ret. 1988 WRC Swedish Rally P. Bos . UNKNOWN #71 [UNKNOWN] SS7 crash
Ret. 1988 WRC Swedish Rally S. Andervang O. Lindell #33 [UNKNOWN] SS13 crash
Ret. 1988 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo J. Rouget . UNKNOWN #43 [UNKNOWN] SS3 fuel
Ret. 1987 WRC Rally of Great Britain C. Lord R. Varley #37 [UNKNOWN] SS34 differential
Ret. 1987 WRC Rally of Great Britain T. Smith . UNKNOWN #34 [UNKNOWN] SS15 crash
Ret. 1987 WRC Rally of Great Britain P. Bos . UNKNOWN #51 [UNKNOWN] SS2 ?
Ret. 1987 WRC Rally of Great Britain P. Collins B. Thomas #33 [UNKNOWN] SS10 crash
Ret. 1987 WRC Rally of Great Britain A. Vatanen B. Giroux #6 [UNKNOWN] SS0 withdrawn before start
Ret. 1987 WRC Rally of Great Britain M. Lovell R. Freeman #20 [UNKNOWN] SS16 crash
Ret. 1987 WRC Rallye San Remo J. McRae I. Grindrod #12 [UNKNOWN] SS3 head gasket
Ret. 1987 WRC Rally New Zealand S. Blomqvist B. Cederberg #1 [UNKNOWN] SS9 crash
Ret. 1987 WRC Rally New Zealand B. Stokes . UNKNOWN #9 [UNKNOWN] SS19 crash
Ret. 1987 WRC Tour de Corse S. Blomqvist B. Berglund #2 [UNKNOWN] SS3 electrics
Ret. 1987 WRC Tour de Corse K. Grundel T. Harryman #7 [UNKNOWN] SS1 crash
Ret. 1987 WRC Safari Rally S. Blomqvist B. Berglund #6 [UNKNOWN] SS19 electrics
Ret. 1987 WRC Safari Rally J. Hellier D. Williamson #19 [UNKNOWN] SS44 electrics
Ret. 1987 WRC Rallye de Portugal C. Sainz A. Boto #11 [UNKNOWN] SS7 rear axle
Ret. 1987 WRC Swedish Rally O. Strömberg P. Persson #22 [UNKNOWN] SS99 crash
Ret. 1987 WRC Swedish Rally K. Grundel T. Harryman #5 [UNKNOWN] SS1 gear linkage
Ret. 1987 WRC Swedish Rally F. Skoghag . UNKNOWN #43 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?
Ret. 1987 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo S. Blomqvist B. Berglund #5 [UNKNOWN] SS66 disqualified - car not according to homologation - 4th
Ret. 1987 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo K. Grundel T. Harryman #10 [UNKNOWN] SS26 crash
Ret. 1987 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo R. Droogmans R. Joosten #12 [UNKNOWN] SS1 engine
Ret. 1986 WRC Rally of Great Britain R. Stoneman P. Davis #45 [UNKNOWN] SS30 differential
Ret. 1986 WRC Rally of Great Britain P. Collins B. Thomas #42 [UNKNOWN] SS30 crash
Ret. 1986 WRC Rally of Great Britain C. Mellors . UNKNOWN #43 [UNKNOWN] SS27 differential