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Ford’s Focus ST-based rally car concept was designed to play in the dirt

Keeping this year’s high-performance theme going, Ford has teamed up with an independent, California-based tuner named Rally Innovations to build an even more muscular-looking version of the Focus ST that previews the rally car of tomorrow. The hot hatch will be introduced next week at the annual SEMA show.

Rally Innovations has upgraded the Focus ST with a deep front bumper that features a built-in a three-piece aluminum spoiler and additional lights, a concept-specific vented hood, side skirts and a large spoiler on the trunk lid. It rides on 19-inch alloy wheels that are wide enough to require the use of massive fender flares on all four corners.

The cabin gains a four-point roll cage, bucket seats with four-point harnesses for the front passengers and an upgraded Sony sound system, a curious add-on for a car that’s designed primarily to hit the track. The rear bench has been tossed out to save weight — and, presumably, to offset the extra pounds added by the stereo.

Ford promises that Rally Innovations has made a host of performance-focused modifications under the hood, but technical specifications haven’t been published yet. The stock, street-legal model on which it’s based is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 252 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and up to 270 pound-feet of torque at 2,500 rpm when burning 93-octane fuel.  A six-speed manual transmission sends power to the front wheels.

Like a vast majority of the cars shown each year at SEMA, Rally Innovations’ Focus ST is merely a one-off concept designed to woo show-goers in Sin City. It won’t be added to the Ford lineup, and it’s not a preview of an upcoming model, though many of the parts it showcases can be ordered from aftermarket vendors such as Rally Innovations.

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The rally-ready Focus ST isn’t the only car Ford is bringing to SEMA. Visitors will also get to check out at least four other heavily tweaked Focus STs, a few hot-rodded Mustangs, and a couple of eye-catching concepts based on the F-150.