Ford to rally on Pirellis in 2001

Ford will swap tyre suppliers from Michelin to Pirelli for its attack on next year's World Rally Championship after signing a deal today at Pirelli's headquarters in Milan

Ford to rally on Pirellis in 2001

Contracted works Ford drivers Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz have both competed on Pirelli tyres before, with the Scot using them when he clinched the drivers' title in 1995 and the Spaniard using them when he was World Rally Champion in 1990 and 1992.

"We're very much looking forward to linking up with Pirelli," said Ford team director Malcolm Wilson. "It has a highly successful career in motorsport, particularly in World Championship rallying. Both of our drivers have considerable experience of working with Pirelli's engineers and it's a relationship that we see working very well."

Giovanni Ferrario, managing director of Pirelli's Tyre Sector, said: "This partnership with one of the most important car manufacturers in the world is further confirmation of Pirelli's commitment to rallying, which we have always considered an irreplaceable source of technological knowledge for the development of our road tyres: a real mobile research and development laboratory.

"It is a very positive time for World Rallying," he continued, "with growing audiences, new developments concerning commercial rights, and a lot of activity surrounding the new communication medium of internet and video games, all of which adds up to a strong sporting and marketing opportunity for Pirelli."

The Ford team will start testing on Pirelli tyres immediately after the final round of this year's World Championship, the Rally of Great Britain.

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