BIRMINGHAM, England, 10 January 2002 - While the Ford Rallye Sport team's trio of Focus rally cars battle for world championship glory, a host of similar Focus machines will be rallying their way to local fame in seven national championships...
BIRMINGHAM, England, 10 January 2002 - While the Ford Rallye Sport team's trio of Focus rally cars battle for world championship glory, a host of similar Focus machines will be rallying their way to local fame in seven national championships around Europe.
In 2001, Focus rally cars won a total of 16 events outside the world championship, plus three major championships - in Italy with Paulo Andreucci, in Poland with Janus Kulig and in the Middle East with Mohammed Ben Sulayem.
Ford will be particularly active on the Iberian Peninsula with two programmes fully run by M-Sport, the company which operates Ford's world rally championship activities. Local hero Rui Madeira contests the Portuguese Championship in a Focus supported by Ford Portugal and oil company Galp. In Spain, Carlos Sainz Junior Team member Txus Jaio tackles the gravel championship in a 2000-specification Focus.
In Finland Jari Viita will drive a late-2001 specification Focus in his national series, the rally car similar to that used by Colin McRae for Rally GB.
In Italy (as in France) the main national championship has switched to Super 1600, so the Euromotor Team squad will run its three Ford Focus rally cars in the gravel championship. Drivers are to be confirmed.
The Czech Republic's national championship uses a variety of surfaces and the Charouz Team will run a single Ford Focus, driver to be confirmed.
After winning the Polish Championship two years running, Janusz Kulig is working to put together a programme to take his hugely successful Ford Focus into the European Championship. In the Middle East, Mohammed Ben Sulayem has won the championship for 13 years in a row and his plans for 2002 are currently being formulated.