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TopGear.com.ph Philippine Car News - Ford Fiesta RS WRC sweeps podium on rally debut

Still wondering about the Ford Fiesta's capabilities? This might help make up your mind. Ford and its Fiesta RS WRCs made a clean sweep of the podium in Rally Sweden, the first race of the 2011 World Rally Championship (WRC).

Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team's Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen won the opening round by finishing 6.5 seconds ahead of M-Sport Stobart Ford World Rally Team's Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson while Hirvonen's teammates, Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila, captured third place.

"It was an amazing weekend for the whole team and a fantastic feeling to stand on the top step of the podium for the first time for 12 months, surrounded by Ford colleagues," said Hirvonen. "Technically, the car was fantastic and I didn't need to change the set-up once. It's early days with the car, but I'm really starting to understand how it behaves now. The car and I are learning together."

Ford of Europe motorsport chief Gerard Quinn was ecstatic after the brand captured all three spots on the podium.

"To lock out the podium in the first rally with the all-new Fiesta RS WRC is more than we could have hoped for," said Quinn. "It's a rewarding start to our 2011 campaign for every member of the team, which has worked thousands of hours to ensure the car was competitive from the very start."

The last time Ford made a clean sweep of the podium was in 2008 also at Rally Sweden when Latvala claimed his maiden WRC win and was followed home by Hirvonen and Gigi Galli.

Ford Abu Dhabi holds an 18-point lead in the manufacturers' world championship with Hirvonen's victory,  making him Ford's most successful WRC driver with 13 wins and edging him ahead of former teammate Marcus Grönholm.

The next WRC stage will be the Rally Mexico scheduled on March 3 to 6. Do you think the Fiesta will perform

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