Ford Escort (Mk5) Profile

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Ford Escort (Mk5) General Information

First once more trying to clear some name confusion. See also Ford Sapphire Mk1 or ancient Ford Cortina Mk4 facelift (for many easier to identify as Mk5), etc. stories. Or maybe best example the 1982 Facelift of the Granada Mk2 is by the German press regularly called the Granada Mk3, but the very different successor Ford Scorpio was in UK still marketed as the Granada, exactly and officially the Granada Mk3, so the Mk2 Facelift clearly is not the Mk3! On the Escort, some people counted Ford Escort until Mk7, although from the Escort Mk5 onwards we only saw milder facelifts. The Escort RS2000 here started life as the 1993 facelift, that was facelifted again only 2 years later. Ford themselves calls this model the Escort Mk5-93 (the year). I know Wikipedia is an everybody can write fan base rather than a reliable source, but it goes to show the extent of the confusion: On this unique case, even as a Ford sympathizer myself, I was tempted to check Wikipedia and found that here Ford fans have arguments if this Escort Mk5-93 was called Escort Mk6 or Escort Mk5b....

The famous Escort Cosworth is clearly an Escort Mk5. This Escort RS2000 started life as what some would describe as an Escort Mk6. Later some of these cars, without changing reg plates or chassis numbers were given new bonnet, new headlights and new front grill and then looked like Escort Mk7! This goes to show that some of the Mk model generation tags were only made up by public and press, and as a result did not turn as famous and classic as i.e. Escort Mk1 & Mk2 did. For a start the so called Mk6 = Mk5-93 lasted only 2 years before the so called Mk7 = Mk5-95 arrived with changes that were hardly noticeable. It would never be possible to convert an Escort Mk1 into a Mk2 or a Mk3, or convert an Escort into a Focus, but on this F2 Escort the conversion from so called Mk6 to Mk7 was like a 5 minutes job, surely we can't speak of the next generation of this model!

Also some mild curiosity about variation tags. This Escort Mk5 RS2000 of course had nothing in common with i.e. the Mk2 generation Escort RS2000. So in difference to early rally Escort strict unique identifications as RS1800 & RS1700T, Ford changed strategy and wanted to remind of an old classic model and name. Also the "Maxi" tag of the more brutal F2 car surely the similarities to some French F2 car names were not without similar intention.

But now to the story of this rally car itself:

It is very amazing how much effort Ford put into their F2 car without ever planning to use it for F2 rallying at WRC level! It was a car designed for British Championship rallying. A joint venture between Gordon Spooner and classic Ford Boreham themselves. And a stunner of an F2 car that quite likely would have had the legs to kick the opposition of Volkswagen, Opel, Seat, Nissan, Hyundai and the likes to tears at WRC level, if only they had tried!

First of all the Escort RS2000 version of the last FWD Escort model was created for F2 with amateur and customer teams on mind. However Ford themselves had extensive use for the car, as it appeared in the hands of Gwyndaf Evans, Stefanie Simmonite, Dandy Rukmana, David Higgins and for some events even Stig Blomqvist and Harri Rovanperä, however all at BRC level only. Being designed using only minimal kit car items and with customer drivers on mind, the car was developped during 1994. There were some clever short cuts used trying to find a compromise between kit car and budget car, so were i.e. the wider wheel arches simply borrowed from the Escort Cosworth road car (Another proof, Mk5 Escort Cosy wings on a Mk7 Escort?!). It got ready just in time for the RAC that year, perfect for a test event. And that was all it was, let's test the amateur baby, see if she makes it to the finish.... How stunned was the rally world when Gwyndaf Evans finished 7th overall and a clear F2 winner on that debut! 1995 was going to be even better. Retirements and accidents meant the BRC title was out of reach, but the car returned onto the WRC stages for the RAC once more and this time Gwyndaf even was 6th overall, again a very clear F2 winner. Only 2nd try for this model at that level and it was the best overall finish an F2 car ever managed on a gravel WRC event! And also the F2 opposition was far from dull on these events. Counting the 94 & 95 RAC F2 wins together, amongst the teams gasping in the shadow of Gwyndaf and the Escort RS2000 were Nissan's Tommi Mäkinen, Alister McRae, Jarmo Kytölehto, Opel's Gregoire de Mevius & David Llewellin, Renault's Alain Oreille & Robbie Head and many more! The 1996 story was the same vice versa. In 1996 Gwyndaf Evans added the BRC outright title to the trophies collected by the F2 Escort RS2000. However that 1996 season ended not so brilliantly on the RAC. Ford started into the event with serious hopes for an outright podium, the RAC scoring for the F2 WRC only that year. However a much televised and spectacular encounter with a leg1 Chatsworth Park tree stump put paid to that idea. See/listen how legends Tony Mason, Murray Walker and Malcom Wilson witnessed the incident:

1996 also saw another surprising development in Ford's F2 program. Ford was the only non-French team to take the F2 kit car idea to the very limits. They even called the new version the Escort RS2000 Maxi, borrowing the Maxi synonymon from equivalent cars of Renault and Peugeot. The car grew massive wheel arch extensions and was a full 132mm wider than the original F2 car (yes, 132mm compared to the first F2 car, not the road car!)! There was considerable work in engine environment, such as management system, injection system, inlet manifolds, etc., pushing the 2.0 engine to a potent 282BHP. Gwyndaf Evans debuted the car on the penultimate BRC event 96, the Ulster Rally and finished 2nd overall on the spot. However already here he warned that the car was rather nervous on the back end and it seemed too wide to fit into the narrow Irish and Manx country lanes. This was then followed up with a massive, massive crash on the Manx - but as we could rely on the Volkswagens to be unreliable, the title was his and Ford's anyway. Gwyndaf returned to a brand new non-Maxi RS2000 for the RAC, which he wrote off, but in 1997 the wide bodied Maxi turned a super star in British, Belgium, French and ERC asphalt rallies in 1997. So just why was this exciting and competitive car never ever officially used at WRC level?

Ford Escort (Mk5) Related Content

Ford Escort (Mk5) Evolutions

Model & Evo. (Activity)
Ford Escort (Mk5) RS2000 (94-97) 225/7500 249/5000 4140.1698.1378 941 (4.2) FWD (2475)
Ford Escort (Mk5) RS2000 Maxi (98-98) 282/8500 255/6500 4140.1830.1378 960 (3.4) FWD (2475)

Random Ford Escort (Mk5) Photos

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Ford Escort (Mk5) Results

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

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego hh:mm:ss
22nd. 1998 WRC Swedish Rally A. Nilsson M. Kangas #29 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
25th. 1998 WRC Rally of Great Britain S. Egglestone S. Egglestone #72 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
53rd. 1998 WRC Rally of Great Britain W. Hoy . UNKNOWN #63 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
12th. 1997 WRC Rallye Catalunya D. Alonso S. Belzunce #21 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
27th. 1996 WRC Swedish Rally A. Eriksson P. Henriksson #51 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
21st. 1996 WRC Rallye San Remo D. Calderola P. Cecchini #32 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
19th. 1996 WRC Rallye Catalunya D. Alonso S. Belzunce #33 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
21st. 1995 WRC Swedish Rally A. Eriksson P. Henriksson #48 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
6th. 1995 WRC Rally of Great Britain G. Evans H. Davies #18 [UNKNOWN] 5:42:07
7th. 1994 WRC Rally of Great Britain G. Evans H. Davies #27 [UNKNOWN] 5:52:24

Ford Escort (Mk5) Retirements

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

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego Reason
Ret. 1998 WRC Rally of Great Britain M. Ipatti K. Kajula #49 [UNKNOWN] SS3 engine
Ret. 1998 WRC Rally of Finland O. Harkki K. Mustalahti #32 [UNKNOWN] SS7 gearbox
Ret. 1998 WRC Rallye Catalunya D. Alonso S. Belzunce #23 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?
Ret. 1998 WRC Swedish Rally A. Eriksson P. Henriksson #41 [UNKNOWN] SS2 brakes
Ret. 1995 WRC Rally of Great Britain S. Lindholm I. Riipinen #24 [UNKNOWN] SS10 suspension