Prokop commits WRC future to Ford
|By David Evans||Friday, December 11th 2009, 18:00 GMT|
Junior World Rally champion Martin Prokop has committed his immediate World Rally Championship future to Ford.
The Czech Republic driver will contest next year's FIA Super 2000 World Rally Championship before stepping up to a Fiesta RS WRC for the following season. His first event with Ford will be the WRC 2010-opening Swedish Rally in February. The car will be maintained by Prokop's Jipocar Racing Team.
"I decided to drive the Fiesta S2000 because it is a great, beautifully built car," said Prokop. "I like the way Ford organises its WRC campaign, as well as the fact it knows how to present its successes and effectively support its customer teams.
"Ford has a clear vision of helping young drivers to climb the rallying ladder. It will be possible to convert a Fiesta S2000 to a new specification WRC car for 2011, which is ideal for me. I want to go ever further as a rally driver, therefore I find this possibility of a smooth transition to WRC very appealing."
M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson has long been championing Ford's ladder up the WRC and he admitted he was delighted to see Prokop in the Fiesta for the long term.
"I'm pleased Martin has made the commitment to take the S2000 route in his career as it is the next step up from a J-WRC car," he said. "We're looking forward to working with him and giving him as much technical support as possible. We have had great interest in the Fiesta S2000 already and the S-WRC is looking to be an exciting championship for all the drivers involved next year."
In addition to the S-WRC, Prokop and co-driver Jan Tomanek could tackle some rounds of the Czech Rally Championship in their Fiesta S2000. Under consideration are high-profile events like the Bohemia Rally and the Barum Rally.
Prokop isn't shy in sharing his ambitions for the season: "It won't be about collecting experience, we have driven enough world rallies to have higher ambitions. The crucial point for us is to learn quickly how to work with the new car. If we manage that, I'm sure we will be able to maintain our level from 2009 in S2000 next year and this means fighting for the podium in each rally."