Ford Focus wins in the desert - the ultimate test of endurance & reliability.
"Driving conditions in the Middle East are unique. The intense heat and desert tracks make this series the ultimate test of endurance and reliability. Over the past four seasons the Ford Focus has consistently proved its qualities in both areas." Mohammed Ben Sulayem 2002 Middle East Rally Champion
Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the most successful FIA rally driver in the world, added yet another milestone to his unique record when he and co-driver John Spiller won the Dubai International Rally (December 12-13) in a Ford Focus RS WRC.
* It was Mohammed Ben Sulayem's 15th Dubai Rally win from the
past 18 years.
* His 10th Dubai Rally win in succession.
* His 14th Middle East Rally Championship crown.
* His fourth consecutive Middle East Rally Championship title driving a Ford Focus RS WRC.
Ben Sulayem had a trouble-free run throughout the two-day event, further underlining the strength and reliability of the Ford Focus rally car on one of the most consistently demanding series in world rallying. "I can't praise the Ford Focus enough," said Ben Sulayem. "The car has been superb all season and this title is another tribute to the work of the Ford team. I'm delighted to win the title once again for both Ford and myself.
"Driving conditions in the Middle East are unique. The intense heat and desert tracks make this series the ultimate test of endurance and reliability. Over the past four seasons the Ford Focus has consistently proved its qualities in both areas."
Focus 1,2 in Dubai and Middle East Championship
The rally saw a dominant performance by the M-Sport prepared and run Ford Middle East Rally Championship team as their sister Focus WRC of Sheikh Abdullah Al-Qassimi and Khaled Zakaria finished a close second but fully 13 minutes clear of third placed Sheik Khaled Al-Qassimi's Mitsubishi.
This latest victory confirmed Ben Sulayem as 2002 Middle East Champion, his 14th crown in the region, and further consolidated his record as the most successful driver in FIA rally championships the world has ever seen. He ended the season with more than double the points of his closest rival, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Qassimi, in the second Ford Focus entry. Ford was also confirmed for the fourth successive year as Middle East Manufacturers' Champions.
Middle East Rally Championship's Editor's note:
The Ford Focus rally car also demonstrated its reliability in the 2002 FIA World Rally Championship where the Ford Rallye Sport team created rallying history by being the first team, since the modern era of the sport was established in 1997, to score points on every round. At the final round of the championship, the Rally of Great Britain, Ford Focus RS WRC rally cars filled four of the top six places. This also confirmed the Ford Focus rally car as the most reliable car in the 14-round series with a remarkable 80 per cent finishing record during the season - that is almost 10 full percentage points clear of its nearest rival and 20 percentage points above the average for all the competing manufacturers.