The Ford Focus RS hatch is a big deal in the American market, as we don’t get many sporty European hatchback models equipped for high-end performance capabilities. The Team O’Neil Rally School wanted to put the RS model to the test, however, by pitting it against a Subaru Impreza STI rally car in the snow. The Focus RS was only slightly modified while the STI had heavy changes that put it at an advantage against its competitor, but the fact remains that the RS was able to hold its own.
With smaller brakes to fit rally tires and 15-inch wheels, a skid plate, and Bilstein shocks, the Ford Focus RS took on the Prodrive-built Open Class Subaru with no other tweaks besides the fact that its ABS had been disabled. The RS eventually fell behind its competitor, but not by much – and the goal of Team O’Neil was not to beat the STI, anyway. Their intention was to see how the Focus RS fared on icy roads against an actual rally car so they’d know how to modify the RS to make it rally-ready.
Will we see a Ford Focus RS hatch turned into a rally car from Team O’Neil soon? Only time will tell. Despite the RS model’s loss against the STI champion, the fact that a production hatchback held its own against a modded rally car is impressive in its own right.