Biffle and Stenhouse Trade in Fusion for Fiesta ST at Team O’Neil Rally School

Biffle and Stenhouse Trade in Fusion for Fiesta ST at Team O’Neil Rally School

061Ford drivers Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. came to New Hampshire on Thursday and traded in their stock car racing skills for a chance to learn some rally car techniques in the Ford Fiesta ST during an afternoon at the Team O’Neil Rally School in Littleton, NH.  Both drivers received some tips from owner Tim O’Neil and Rally America Two-Wheel Drive champion Andrew Comrie-Picard (ACP) before speaking with Ford Racing about their four-hour session.

 

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – SO HOW WAS YOUR TEAM O’NEIL EXPERIENCE?  “I learned an awful lot driving the Fiesta ST and it’s amazing what that car will do.  Rally driving is so much different than what we’re used to because it’s front-wheel drive, so you use the brake in a lot different manner than we do.  You almost use the brake for traction as you’re turning and staying on the gas, so it was a great experience for us to be able to see the different driving techniques.  It was so much fun learning how to put the car into a drift because I haven’t done those things in front-wheel drive cars, so I learned a tremendous amount about what this Fiesta ST is capable of, and I really didn’t want to leave.  I was having so much fun.”

 

007WERE YOU SLIGHTLY SCARED AT ANY POINT?  “I think I scared myself a few times.  I made some laps around the course and got what we called ‘tank-slappers,’ so I got a little bit out of shape down through the trees.  I stayed on the course, but we were going really fast and it’s a lot different having trees to your left and right and not a concrete wall.  A tree is a lot different.”

 

WAS IT NICE TO GET AWAY FROM ALL THE CHASE TALK AND DO SOMETHING LIKE THIS ON A DAY OFF?  “Yeah, that was really fun.  Anytime I get a chance to go drive something else I do it.  I’ve gotten so many opportunities with Ford to drive different stuff, but I’ve never been able to do the rally driving.  It was one thing to drive the course myself and try to execute everything we learned, but it was even more fun to get a ride with Andrew Comrie-Picard and his Fiesta ST race car to see exactly what those guys go through and how fast they go.  It was incredible.”

 

046A FUSION STOCK CAR AND FIESTA ST RALLY CAR ARE TWO TOTALLY DIFFERENT VEHICLES.  HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO GET COMFORTABLE?  “I don’t think I ever got 100 percent comfortable behind the wheel, but I learned a lot.  It’s intimidating how fast the car will go down through the woods and how they’ll turn.  The brake actually stops the car from sliding or spinning out and it’s just not something that we’re used to. There again, you need to let the car spin one way and spin the other way to set up for a corner.  It’s just an unnatural technique when it comes to oval track racing.  It’s almost a little bit like drifting, and I’ve been known to do some of that as well, so it’s kind of a combination of all that.  It’s a lot of fun.”

 

RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – No. 17 EcoPower Ford Fusion – WHAT DID YOU THINK OF YOUR EXPERIENCE?  “Ford asked us to come out to the Team O’Neil Rally School and I wasn’t sure what it was going to entail, but after getting there and going through some of the training courses and working our way up it was a lot of fun learning how these guys drive rally races.  They’ve got a real art that they’re really good at and it was a lot of fun to learn.”

 

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR YOU WITH THESE CARS?  “Growing up racing sprint cars on the dirt I was always comfortable sliding around on dirt, but the way you do it with these front-wheel drive cars and the way you use the brake was like nothing I had ever really driven.  You transfer the weight to the front so the rear slides around and you have to get it sliding back and forth from the left to the right to make certain corners, so it was totally different.  Once I kind of trained my mind to do that it was a lot of fun, and I wanted to keep making laps.  Greg and I had a blast doing it and I’m definitely glad we made the trip up here.”

Ford Racing NSCS Notes & Quotes:

Sylvania 300 Advance – New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Friday, September 19, 2014

RICKY STENHOUSE CONTINUED — DID YOU LEARN ANY SKILLS OR TECHNIQUES THAT MIGHT HELP YOU IN A STOCK CAR?  “There are a few things that I think I can take away from this.  One of them is that they can do a lot with these Fiestas as far as the way they make them drive.  It kind of got me thinking that if they can do that with their car, I’m gonna see if there are things I can do a little bit better this weekend at Loudon.  We already use the brakes to do certain things in our race cars, but maybe I can do it a little bit better to get our car through the corner.  I’m gonna be open-minded and thinking about that this weekend, so what I’m taking away is that I might be able to do something a little bit better with our race cars..”

 

WOULD YOU LIKE TO TRY X GAMES OR A RALLY CAR RACE AT SOME POINT AFTER EXPERIENCING THIS?  “I would definitely love to do a rally car race.  I felt comfortably out of control through the woods.  I hung a few wheels off, but it reminded me of when I road dirt bikes through the woods growing up.  Things are coming at you so fast that you’ve got to look way ahead, but when you’re in a car the road feels so much more narrow than when you’re riding a dirt bike, but I would definitely love to try it.  ACP was a lot of fun to ride with in his rally Fiesta ST.  Ford has a great driver in him and it was a lot of fun to learn.”

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