Ford Rallye Sport has unveiled the Focus RS WRC 03 - a car it describes as its “most technically advanced and revolutionary rally car ever”.

Ford Rallye Sport has unveiled the Focus RS WRC 03 - a car it describes as its “most technically advanced and revolutionary rally car ever”.

The latest evolution of the Focus RS WRC - with its big rear wing, revised bumpers, cooling scoops and sharp contours - will make its debut on the New Zealand Rally next month and team insiders say it will be big improvement on last year’s car.

“We know that the new car is quicker than the old one,” Ford Rallye Sport technical director Christian Loriaux said. “We began with a clean sheet of paper and we’ve ended up with a revolutionary car, which retains all that was good from the previous model.”

The Focus WRC 03 features a new lightweight body shell, improved weight distribution, radical new styling and an aerodynamic package that should result in increased performance on especially the faster rallies.

"We wanted to improve the downforce on the Focus as we have been losing time to our key rivals on the faster rallies like Finland,” Loriaux said. “Weight-saving was a priority, but we also attempted to distribute the weight to those areas of the car where we need it to improve balance and handling.

Loriaux said on Tuesday that Ford had developed the Focus WRC 03’s front suspension “as far as the regulations allowed us to go”, but the rear suspension showed some major revisions from the 2002 car.

”We have completely redesigned the rear suspension to improve road handling by using the dynamics of the suspension and saving weight,” he added.

The M-Sport Ford team of Francois Duval and Markko Martin will also benefit from the Focus WRC 03’s new Cosworth engine, revised electronic and hydraulic control systems, more efficient engine and transmission cooling and an enhanced Digital Messaging System (to relay data to the co-driver's dashboard display).

"Cosworth Racing has built a new two-litre Duratec R engine which has a significant weight reduction over the 2002 engine,” Loriaux said.

"Revisions to the turbocharger have helped produce better response and more top end power. We have also redesigned the cooling package and should see cooler running temperatures on the hot rallies like the Acropolis and Cyprus," he added.