Ford has announced that Christian Loriaux will join its world rally team as the new technical director next season. The experienced 35-year-old Belgian will replace director of engineering Guenther Steiner who is leaving to take up a senior position with the Jaguar Formula 1 team.
Loriaux will head the 15-strong engineering department at M-Sport, the team which runs Ford's world rally programme, from its Dovenby Hall base in Cumbria.
His career in motorsport began in 1991, when he joined Prodrive as a design engineer. He became chief engineer there in 1998 and has worked closely with all of Ford's 2002 drivers, Colin McRae, Carlos Sainz and Markko Martin, during their time with the Subaru team.
"This is a great opportunity for me," said Loriaux. "Ford is a very strong team with an excellent driver line-up for 2002. The Focus RS World Rally Car has shown its potential and we have all the elements for a powerful world title bid next season. I'm looking forward to working with Colin and Carlos again, who in my opinion are two of the best drivers in the sport, while Markko is clearly one of rallying's rising stars."
Martin Whitaker, European director of Ford Racing, welcomed Loriaux into the team. "This is a major boost for the Ford team. Christian has an impressive pedigree in rallying and I believe we have acquired someone with the knowledge and motivation to spur the team on in next year's world championship campaign."
Team director and M-Sport owner Malcolm Wilson added: "Christian brings with him a wealth of knowledge and we're delighted he has decided to move to Ford. I'd like to thank Guenther for all his hard work in developing the Focus rally car from a blank piece of paper to a world rally winner and would like to wish him well with Jaguar."