Carlos Sainz and Luis Moya took third place in the World Championship in 1997 aboard the Ford Escort WRC. The car was the successor of Escort RS Cosworth. Later, this device was replaced by the Focus, a car that the Madrid rider enjoyed for three seasons, with two absolute victories.
Specifically, this model, the Ford Escort WRC, has been chosen to continue our design votes. The winner in the first round was the Spanish two-time world champions, with the legendary decoration of Repsol, the sponsoring company in those years for Ford. Several chassis were used by Sainz and Moya in 1997.
Today we are going to focus on the number twelve, with registration P8 FMC. With it, our protagonists participated in two tests of the WRC in 1997. One was home, the 1997 Rallye Cataluña-Costa Brava, where they were not very lucky. At the Rallye in Corsica, France, also on asphalt, got a meritorious second place, behind Mcrae and Grist with the Impreza WRC.
This car also ran the WRC of that year in the ground configuration. The team-mate of the Spanish duo, Juha Kankkunen, employed him at the Indonesia Rally (second) and the Australian Rally, where they suffered a road exit. From 1998, the car arrived in Finland in the hands of a private team.
Jari-Mati Latvala’s father, Jari, Finnish Group N Champion, enjoyed the vehicle on the Finnish stretches from 1998 to the end of 2002. He reaped several podiums and a victory with such a unit. Today, Jari is still active with his spectacle Toyota Celica GT-4 (ST165).
Jari Saarinen, a Swedish rider who is also still active today, played in his home country for two years, achieving victories. 2003 and 2004 were the years in which this unit was on Swedish soil. From 2005 it reached a new European destination. Arnaud Mordacq runed the French Gravel Championship with the WRC, winning fifth place in the overall final of the championship (2006).
In 2009, the legendary Ford saddle went to England, in the hands of Graham Butler, pilot who still keeps it in his garage to this day. It also performs historical tests (such as festivals) sporadically with this mount. The Englishman is a declared lover of Ford: he has enjoyed many models, such as the Puma S1600, Focus WRC 2003 or an Escort Gr. A ex official, among others.
Since 2009, the saddle has been undergoing restoration and decoration by its new owner. The car was revised and painted in a similar way to the official season, 1997. A real wonder for a brand-loving collector like Butler. In 2015 took place the big revamp of the car at the Eifel Rally Festival in Germany.
In addition, coincidences of fate, the P8 FMC registration returned to Catalonia after that world championship event, more than twenty years ago. Butler was one of the guests at the Rallye Costa Brava, becoming one of the attractions. His co-driver was Antonio Boto, from Madrid, who worked with Sainz in the eighties. Quite a show.
His second visit to Spain, specifically to Cantabria, also took place in 2017. Graham Butler was one of the pillars at the Trasmiera Rallye Festival that year with the Escort. In 2018 he was also on the list of registrants, but finally he did not go to Hoznayo. Who knows if we will have him back. Time will tell.