Ford to remain in World Rally Championship until at least 2013
|By Jamie O'Leary||Thursday, December 15th 2011, 13:36 GMT|
Ford has ended speculation surrounding its short-term participation in the World Rally Championship by confirming its presence until at least the end of 2013.
Malcolm Wilson's M-Sport operation, which has run the manufacturer's works team in the WRC since 1997, will continue to do so for the next two years.
Petter Solberg was confirmed on Thursday as Jari-Matti Latvala's team-mate for 2012 following Mikko Hirvonen's switch to Citroen.
Ford of Europe's senior manager for motorsport Gerard Quinn said: "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.
"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. Already regarded by many as the fastest driver in WRC, this year he showed consistency and expertise on all surfaces. 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."
Ford, which has taken 79 WRC victories, unveiled its 2012 livery, with the Fiesta WRCs now to be run under the Ford World Rally Team banner.