1998 Ford EscortRS WRC
Year of manufacture1998
Car built by M-Sport in 1998, for Ford’s official program in the World Rally Championship, in the colours of Valvoline. In 1998 Juha Kankkunen contested six world rallies with the car, resulting in three podium finishes.
It was entered for the first time in the 1998 Rallye Monte Carlo, in the hands of Juha Kankkunen, with the registration “R4 FMC”. Although the Finn had not such a good start as his team-mate Bruno Thiry, he managed to climb to second place after 7 of the 18 stages. It was in this position that he ended the rally, setting the fastest time in SS 8, the mythical and 36.72 km long Sisteron-Thoard stage.
The car was built for asphalt rallies – it was so light that it had to carry ballast to respect the minimum weight imposed by the regulations – and chassis #29 made its return in the works team at Rallye Catalunya in April, still in the hands of Juha Kankkunen. The Finn had to retire after going off the road. Three weeks later, he did the Tour de Corse with “R4 FMC”, finishing in ninth. Chassis #29 was then converted for gravel, and entered for the Finnish driver at the Acropolis Rally, Finland and Australia, resulting in a 3rd place in Greece and Finland, and 5th down under. Of the six world events contested by this Escort WRC chassis #29, only one retirement was therefore to be deplored, after going off the road.
In 1999, this Escort WRC contested two events in the hands of Finnish privateers: Timo Hulkkonen had to retire in the Arctic Rally (ERC), as did Janne Tuohino in the Rally of Great Britain (WRC).
The Ford Escort WRC #29 regained its reliability that had characterized the car during the 1998 season with its new owner, Swedish driver Mats Jonsson. Driving Fords since 1997 in his national championship – which he was to win no fewer than 17 times in his career – Mats Jonsson replaced chassis #44 of the Escort WRC after four seasons of loyal service by chassis #29 , now registered “TLW 097”, for the 2003 season.
Between 2003 and… 2016, Mats Jonsson was to offer this Escort WRC #29 a rather incredible national record, with no fewer than 59 victories in nearly 150 rallies. Successes achieved on snow and gravel, in Sweden and Norway. At the end of the 2016 season, chassis #29 went to Spain and the Past Racing team, which gave Dani Sordo the opportunity to compete at its wheel during the 2017 Rallye Festival Trasmeria. During the same year, another world class driver was at the wheel of the car, during the Portuguese RallySpirit Altronix Show: Ari Vatanen.
Another rally star was at the wheel during the 2018 Rallye Festival Trasmeria: Harri Toivonen, Henri’s younger brother and son of Pauli Toivonen. Although it was then registered with the Spanish “5293 JZB” number plate, the Escort WRC #29 was back in the livery in which it still is today in the MY Vintage Gallery, i.e. the “Ford – Valvoline” colours in which Juha Kankkunen finished second in the 1998 Rallye Monte-Carlo. Better still: it again has its legendary “R4 FMC” registration now.
Car delivered with:
– UK registration document
– Various registration documents
– Roll cage & tank certificates
– Original homologation form + options variants (VO)
– Various technical documents
– Complete history