Double World Rally champion Marcus Gronholm has been appointed patron of the Richard Burns Foundation.
The Foundation, which was established shortly after the 2001 champion died from a brain tumour, supports people suffering from serious illness and injuries, and their families. It was relaunched in Sweden this afternoon, where Gronholm was revealed as the first patron. Gronholm was team-mate to Burns for two years at Peugeot, with the Finn regularly admitting the Englishman was his toughest ever rival.
"It's a huge privilege to be asked to become a patron of the Richard Burns Foundation," said Gronholm. "I admired and respected Richard both as a sportsman and a person, and his strength through adversity was certainly an inspiration for me.
"I hope that the work of the Foundation will inspire other people as well, by highlighting Richard's achievements in his life and his bravery towards the end of it. We are all very sad that Richard has gone, but also very excited about the possibilities we have to help other people and honour his memory through the important work of the Richard Burns Foundation. I would like to ask as many people as possible to get involved and help."
Burns' co-driver Robert Reid was delighted to welcome Gronholm to the RBF.
"Richard and I enjoyed some epic battles with Marcus and I'm sure he remembers them just as well as I do," Reid said. "I can think of nobody better to become the patron of the Richard Burns Foundation, as he observed, first hand, Richard's strength and determination. In fact, he was frequently on the receiving end of it!
"This year marks a new start for the Richard Burns Foundation and, with the help of Marcus, I am confident we will be able to raise the charity's profile in order to really make a difference to people's lives."