Steve Arpin on Switching to the Fiesta ST
(January 17) – Canadian star Steve Arpin says his Loenbro Motorsports team has increased its potential for success in the 2019 Americas Rallycross (ARX) Championship season by switching back to its Ford Fiesta ST Supercar.
Arpin’s team partnered Gymkhana, rally and rallycross star Ken Block to form Loenbro Hoonigan for ARX 2018 and raced a pair of Ford Focus RS RXs. Block finished on the podium twice and Arpin scored his first ARX podium in the final round at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas.
Loenbro plans to use the experience it gained last year and knowledge of winning US rallycross events in the past with the Fiesta to mount a title challenge in 2019. “Going back to the Fiesta is going to be an easy transition for us since we have so much experience with that car. In our first three years in rallycross as an organization we used the Fiesta and we learnt a lot about it,” said Arpin. “Switching to the Focus gave use a different outlook on a different type of suspension and a different platform so we were able to learn a lot with the Focus in 2018 as well. Going into 2019 being able to combine the best of both worlds, we’re really looking forward to what that can look like.”
Arpin thinks the competition will be tough in the second ARX season, but thinks the Loenbro Fiesta, built by M-Sport in the UK can be strong contenders. “The Volkswagens are obviously always going to be strong and the Subarus have been getting faster each and every time they hit the race track. They’ve had a long off season to do a lot of work and we all know the guys over at Vermont SportsCar never stop progressing,” he said. “We’re doing the same over here. Honestly from a confidence standpoint I’m excited to get back to the Fiesta, I’m excited to give our guys time to do their thing and get it to exactly where they want it. I think the bigger question is going to be what are the others are going to do to keep us behind them. I’m hoping we can come out of the box and live up to that. This is definitely the most confidence I’ve had going into a race season yet.”
Running out of the North Carolina-Loenbro Motorsports shop, the team has two four-wheel-drive 600 BHP Fiesta Supercars and is working on a signing a second driver for 2019. “It’s definitely our plan to run our second Fiesta, it’s important for our race team especially to get the data from it. Having a teammate helps you get to where you need to be on any given race weekend much faster,” said Arpin. “Working with Ken Block last year was a thrill and it was awesome having him as a teammate. We’re still talking with him and a lot of other people on what the future could look like as to putting a second top quality driver in the second car. Stay tuned, it going to be an exciting last couple of months of the off season.”