Part of the perks of what we do here at Slip&Grip are that we get to see some legendary machines up close and personal. The evolution of the Mk1 Focus on the world rally scene saw a vast change throughout its WRC career with weight loss and vast aero packages resulting in a very capable, rally winning car. From memory, talking with owners whilst testing at Bont Stage over the past few seasons, only twenty something 03-05 cars were made, one of which was built from M Sport spares at a later date. We have had six of these cars use the stage in the past 18 months and seeing them run on the tight Welsh tarmac is a wonder to behold, anti-lag noises echoing off the hills.
Michael O’Brien is custodian of this particular 2005 Ford Focus WRC and still uses it in anger. We caught up with Michael and the rest of his team for shakedown prior to the Tendring & Clacton Rally where along with co-driver Mark Glennerster. The crew achieved a top ten overall against some much newer machinery and some very fast drivers.
Its common for drivers who test with us to own multiple rally cars, after all if you were an avid rally fan with the funds to cover several cars, you would too right? I ask if he owns any other cars, instant pride reflects in his face as he lists of an ex- Markko Martin 03 Focus WRC, the ex-Andreas Mikkelsen 05 car we have here (Chassis #22), a 07 Focus WRC previously driven by the likes of Mikko Hirvonen, Mathew Wilson, Marcus Gronholm and Ken Block, as well as finally a Fiesta world car.