Ford confirms WTCC bid

Ford has announced that the German Hotfiel Sport team will run two of its new Ford Focus touring cars in the revived World Touring Car Championship next year

The Ford-developed cars will not be run as an overt factory team, but there are plenty of signs that the Blue Oval is committed to making the programme a success.

Hotfiel is a long-term Ford team and ran a Focus squad in the German Production Car Championship this season with frontrunners Patrick Bernhardt, Thomas Klenke and Michael Funke in the drivers' seats. Funke fared best, finishing third overall.

The team also the co-operated closely with the RS-Line team which ran Focuses in the European Touring Car Championship (which will be upgraded to World status for 2005) this year.

Ford motorsport boss Jost Capito commented: "We're delighted that Hotfiel has taken the initiative to enter the new Ford Focus in 2005, and we will be watching their progress with great interest.

"We hope this will inspire other teams to develop their own programmes using the new Ford Focus," Capito added. "Ford's main motorsport activity remains the FIA World Rally Championship with the Focus RS WRC, but we will continue to encourage privateers who realise the strength and competitiveness of our cars across a wide range of motorsports."

Ford contested the first, and so far only, World Touring Car Championship in 1987 with its charismatic Ford Sierra Cosworths and RS500s, but its top pairing of Klaus Ludwig and Klaus Niedzwiedz were pipped to the title by just a single point by BMW's Roberto Ravaglia.


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