The Ford Escort Cosworth Gr. A
The Ford Escort RS Cosworth Group A, developed by Ford Motorsport in Boreham
on behalf of the Ford Motor Company, was homologated by the FIA (#5466) on 1st
January 1993 for the manufacturer's participation in the World Rally Championship.
The car would be officially entered at the highest level for four seasons.
Intended to replace the Ford Sierra RS Cosworth 4x4 Gr. A, the new Escort RS
Cosworth was developed by Ford Motorsport during 1992. Its main development
driver was Malcolm Wilson, who – before the homologation – drove the car during
the Scottish Rally. The development car was also entered in Spanish events, in the
hands of Jose Maria Bardolet.
In 1993, the official Fords were entrusted to Massimo Biasion and François Delecour.
In 1994, several drivers shared the cars entered by Ford Boreham, the main ones
being Massimo Biasion, François Delecour, Bruno Thiry, Ari Vatanen and Malcolm
Wilson. In 1995, the RAS Sport team entered semi-official Fords, in the hands of
François Delecour and Bruno Thiry. In the World Championship, 1996 was the last
year for the Group A-version of the Escort, before the appearance of the new Ford
Escort WRC. Carlos Sainz and Bruno Thiry were the official Ford drivers, when the
manufacturer once again entrusted its program to Boreham.
Of the 37 events the Ford Escort RS Cosworth Gr. A contested in the official colours
it won eight, a success rate of 21.6%. It also conquered 30 podium finishes (81%). The
majority of Ford Escort RS Cosworth Gr. A victories were recorded in 1993, with five
wins during this first season: Portugal, Corsica, Acropolis, Sanremo and Catalunya.
Two new victories were added in 1994, with Monte Carlo and Finland. In 1996, a final
win in Indonesia crowned its brilliant career.
François Delecour was the driver with the most world championship wins at the wheel
of the Escort Cosworth Gr. A, scoring four victories. Massimo Biasion, Franco Cunico
(as a privateer driver), Tommi Mäkinen (privateer) and Carlos Sainz each took one. In
1997, Group A gave way to the WRC, which was closely derived from the Group A
rules. No wonder then that several Gr. A cars were transformed into a WRC.
Beyond its career in the World Rally Championship, the Escort Cosworth Gr. A – some
fifty were built – have won numerous titles. In 1994 a European title was added to its
track record, thanks to Patrick Snijers. Between 1993 and 1996 the Escort Cosworth
Gr. A took several national rally titles as well, with – for example – three national titles
in Belgium, Italy, France, Turkey or Portugal. It also took the national crown in Great
Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Greece, Finland,
the Czech Republic, Austria, etc.
Ford Escort Cosworth Gr. A “N 449 DJN”
At the end of 1995 and start of 1996, Gordon Spooner Engineering – commissioned
by Ford Motorsport (Boreham) to produce the Ford Escort RS Cosworth Gr. A for
“customer” teams – built two “twin” cars registered “N 449 DJN”, respectively
bearing the chassis numbers #GSE95A014 and #GSE96A021, on behalf of the Future
World team of Gérard Magniette, based in Hemiksem (Antwerp, Belgium).
Equipped with the same configurations, these two cars used the same registration
plate and the same documents. According to different sources, the identity of the
chassis used with the "N 449 DJN" plate varies. Between the rallies and according to
the schedules of revision of the components, mechanical parts were also transposed
from one chassis to another.
In 1996, the Ford Escort RS Cosworth Gr. A “N 449 DJN” was entered by Roger
Boeren in the Belgian National Rally Championship. The gentleman-driver competed
in eight national events in the car. After winning two of them, the Rallye de Hannut
and the TAC Rally, he finished runner-up in the national championship.
Still in 1996, with Marc Duez at the wheel, "N 449 DJN" was also at the start of the
24 Hours of Ypres, the blue riband event of the Belgian International Rally
Championship, also counting for the European Rally Championship (coefficient 20).
Even though Marc Duez was eventually forced to retire (engine), he claimed 6 Top 5
At the end of the season, Bruno Thiry contested the Condroz Rally with the Ford Escort
RS Cosworth Gr. A “N 449 DJN” of the Future World team. As second-best performer
of the event behind Freddy Loix, Bruno Thiry claimed 13 fastest stage times,
eventually finishing in third after losing precious seconds at the start of a stage due to
suspension trouble. The current livery of "N 449 DJN" is the one used by the Thiry-
Prévot pairing during this 1996 Condroz Rally.
In 1997, it was again Roger Boeren driving the “N 449 DJN”, a car that had pleased
him so much during the previous season. He combined “national” program with some
"international" events in Belgium. At the start of the year, “N 449 DJN” and Dutch
driver Hans Stacey claimed victory the RTS Rally, the opening round of the Belgian
National Rally Championship.
Also during 1997, the stories of the two twin cars (#GSE95A014 and #GSE96A021)
frequently intertwined. With chassis 021 French driver Benoît Rousselot won the Rallye
International Charlemagne, based in Maubeuge, France. A few weeks later, Belgian
Philippe Stéveny used the car to take the win at the Rallye de Sombreffe.
Between 1998 and 2001 the "N 449 DJN" registration plate was used by German
driver Maik Stölzel on chassis #GSE95A014. Meanwhile, chassis #GSE96A021, which
was still in Belgium, distinguished itself with a victory at the 1998 12 Hours of Braine-
le-Comte, a national event, in the hands of Jean-Marc Gaban.
The Ford Escort RS Cosworth Gr. A #GSE96A021 then headed for Switzerland. From
2002, it was in the hands of Swiss driver Didier Germain, who only used it to compete
in a few rallies. At the end of 2004, the car was bought by the French driver Joël Juif,
who during three seasons would compete in more than twenty events counting for
the Coupe de France des Rallyes.
Thanks to its immense reliability, #GSE96A021 allowed him to claim no fewer than
three wins and 14 podium finishes, retiring only three times. Mechanically, the car was
taken car of by the First Motorsport team, based in Andenne, Belgium.
After being kept in “collectible” condition, chassis #GSE96A021 reappeared in 2015,
when its new owner, German driver Roman Bielan, competed in the Eifel Rallye
Festival, a demonstration event organized in Daun, Germany. This was also the event
when the chassis and its original "N 449 DJN" registration plate were reunited.
When it was acquired by Belgian Paul Lietaer, this Ford Escort Cosworth Gr. A (still
equipped with the latest developments from 1996), continued its career in Belgium,
under the "559 BCE 34" registration plate. The Flemish driver competed in both the
Belgian and Flemish regional championships, with several podium finishes as a result.
In 2020, the car was bought by Australian Michael Bailey, owner of a multitude of Ford
Escort Gr. A and WRC. Remaining in Europe, chassis #GSE96A021 regained its "N
449 DJN" registration and its livery of the 1996 Condroz Rally.
It is in this configuration that the Ford Escort RS Cosworth Gr. A "N 449 DJN" chassis
#GSE96A021 joined the fold of MY Vintage in early 2022.
Its various owners all took immense care of the car, using the most recent Ford
Motorsport 909 components. Having gradually received all the available and reliable
upgrades (in particular the XXL running gear), this Ford Escort RS Cosworth Gr. A has
always stood out for its reliability and performance.
The car was sold to a German collector at the end of 2022.