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Liatti focuses on asphalt for Ford

Piero Liatti is to join the Ford World Rally Team behind the wheel of a Focus WRC. The asphalt expert will partner regular drivers Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz in three weeks time on the Tour de Corse and on next month's Rallye San Remo

The 28-year-old Italian is to replace recent Subaru signing Petter Solberg on the two asphalt events as the M-Sport-run team attempts to take potential point-scoring positions from its title rivals. McRae and Sainz are vying for the drivers' title and are eight and 17 points respectively behind series leader Marcus Gronholm.

"I'm delighted to have the chance to drive a Focus on my favourite surface," said Liatti. "I think I can finish in the top places on both rallies and I think victory is possible in Italy."

Liatti has scored one world championship victory to date, on the 1997 Monte Carlo Rally, but has made a name for himself on asphalt events, scoring numerous podium finishes, including two second places on his home event, the Rallye San Remo.

"His presence strengthens our asphalt line-up," said M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson. "His expertise will also provide us with valuable feedback in our continuing development programme on asphalt."

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