Earlier today Ford of Europe confirmed it will contest the FIA World Rally Championship in 2012 and 2013. The 14 year long partnership with M-Sport will continue and so will the Ford Fiesta RS World Rally Car.
Equally exciting is the team’s plans to sign former world champion Petter Solberg and co-driver Chris Patterson who have signed up to drive the team’s second Fiesta RS WRC in all 13 rounds next year. They will join team leaders, Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila who won Rally GB last month.
Solberg started his world rally championship career with Ford in 1999. Since then he’s won the world title in 2003 taking 13 world rally victories along the way.
Ford of Europe chairman and CEO Stephen Odell commented: “Ford has a rich history in world rallying and we’re excited to continue fighting for titles on the world stage with our great partners at M-Sport.”
Gerard Quinn, Ford of Europe’s senior manager for motorsport, added: “The WRC is motorsport’s toughest competition for production-based cars. Through WRC, we can convey the attributes of our road vehicles and send a clear message to our customers and fans about Ford’s passion and expertise.”
“We feel that the timing for our announcement is right. We had to be confident about the stability of the championship and to ensure it continues to provide great value and increased exposure globally. We discussed it with our stakeholders and after receiving such assurances we look forward to focusing on competition once again,” said Quinn.
“We have a great team with M-Sport and its leader, Malcolm Wilson, and in Jari-Matti Latvala we have one of motorsport’s rising stars. We believe he will flourish in his new role as Ford’s team leader, and look forward to seeing his pace light up the special stages around the world.”
Wilson, M-Sport managing director and team director, said: “The performance of the Fiesta RS WRC in 2011 was strong on all surfaces and I’m genuinely excited about what we can achieve in the future. We want to challenge for world titles and I have no doubts that our car and driver combination, allied to the infrastructure and expertise of our staff at Dovenby Hall, will allow us to do that.”