After an up and down debut season in 1999, Ford returned in 2000 with the Focus.This version of the Focus represents the car as seen at the Monte Carlo Rally, the first of the new season. The car had a minor change in livery and a few modifications were made to the wing and front spoiler. After Toyota had pulled out of the world rally scene, Spaniard Carlos Sainz left Toyota and joined Colin McRae on the Ford team. McRae and Sainz were both plagued by mechanical problems at the start but they improved throughout the rally. McRae got near the lead but mechanical failure forced him out. Sainz managed second place, which was a great effort for his first rally in a Ford.
In the Box
It seems that Hasegawa threw all the parts for the 1999 machine into the box and added additional parts for the new version in a separate bag! In the original bag are found ten sprues including the clear parts! I really hate this as parts usually break off or the clear parts get scratched. Some of the clear windscreens had broken off and some had scratches. All of the sprues (except clear) and body are molded in white. The parts on these sprues contain the roll cage, floor pan, dash, seats, wheels, original spoilers and wings, suspension arms and disc brakes among others.
The second bag contains parts to create the 2000 Focus. Two white sprues contain the new wing and front spoiler, doors with the roll cage molded in (maybe they've heard people complain about most of their rally cars being their road versions with skinny roll cages and road dashes, except Hasegawa do not make a civilian Focus to my knowledge.), spare tyre and steering column. There is also the photo-etched fret with the new and old front screen and all the buckles etc.
The tyres come in their own bag with poly caps. Another criticism I've heard about Hasegawa are that their rubber tyres are too thin. I have to agree on this count.
Another bag contains vinyl red material for the seatbelts and a silver rod for the aerials.
Finally there is one decal sheet that has all the new body colours, sponsors, drivers etc. They look very well made.
Although the Hasegawa version of the Focus is not as detailed as Tamiya's (previewed by me earlier) it is the first to offer 2000 season markings. Studio27 do make a 2000 conversion kit for the Tamiya car, but this kit is more expensive than the car kit itself. I'm sure if you want a more detailed version this would be the way to go, but for a cheaper alternative, I find nothing wrong with this car.
The painting looks like it will be simpler than the 1999 car. You will only have to paint the car overall white and add the decals that include the blue. Which is easier than having to mask off areas and will avoid the problem that plagued my Tamiya version. One thing I have heard from people who have seen the car up close is that blue is actually a metaliic blue. Another plus is that driver name decals for the rear side windows are included. Something that was strangely missing from Tamiya's.
This should make for a good comparison build article against the Tamiya version in the next few months.