Can a New Ford Focus RS Tear Around on Gravel?

Ryan and Alex head to Team O'Neil's skidpad to test "drift mode" on the rocks.

For years in the U.S., the Subaru-Mitsubishi rivalry galvanized rally fans. These days the major rivalry pits the Subaru Impreza WRX STI against the Ford Focus RS in a battle for top budget hoon-machine. But while the long-running STI is a known quantity, the RS — despite a year of hype — is still ripe for discovery. And so…

On this week’s episode of /MY LIFE AS A RALLYIST, Ryan meets up with his friend Alex Jagger with a plan is to try out Alex’s stock Ford Focus RS on gravel. Sounds safe enough, right? After all, the RS is bred from the rally-charged Ford Performance team, which has been building batshit, motorsports-based Focus models for Europe since almost forever.

After some RS hooning on the rough skid pad, with obvious results, Ryan bails out and jumps into a 300-hp, home-built, front-wheel-drive rally car, mainly to have a silly good time on the Team O’Neil stages.