Jari Ketomaa to compete in six WRC events in Ford machinery in 2012
|By David Evans||Wednesday, August 3rd 2011, 08:59 GMT|
Rally Finland leader Jari Ketomaa will contest a six-round World Rally Championship programme in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC next season.
The 32-year-old Finn, who was the fastest driver in last year's Super 2000 World Rally Championship, made a stunning debut in WRC machinery on his home event last week and lead the event after the opening stage in his Fiesta.
He then slowed on stage two to run in a preferable place on the road on Friday, but crashed off the road in the Koivukeha stage that afternoon. He was running fifth when he went off.
Despite his premature exit from the event, the four-time Finnish Rally champion is hoping to get out on Rallye de France later this year, before his extended programme next season.
"It was great to have the chance to drive the Fiesta at home," said Ketomaa. "And it was going very well until I crashed. The car wasn't too bad, but the roll cage was damaged, so we couldn't go on.
"I am working on trying to go to France for another WRC round to get some asphalt experience, but really my big focus is on next year and doing six rallies in a Fiesta.
"Okay, I crashed, but I also led Rally Finland - after my favourite stage in Lankamaa - and my sponsors are pleased with what I did, which has helped for next season."
M-sport managing director Malcolm Wilson admitted he'd been impressed with Ketomaa's pace.
"He's obviously a talented driver," said Wilson. "But we saw that with his pace in S-WRC last year. We've talked about next year and obviously we'd like to work with him again."
The precise details of Ketomaa's 2012 programme have yet to be agreed, but it is expected to include Sweden and Finland.