FIA World Rally Championship leader Ford has named Spain's Dani SolÃ and Xavier Amigo as nominated drivers for next month's Corona Rally Mexico. The pair will drive an M-Sport prepared Ford Focus RS World Rally Car on the third round of the FIA...
FIA World Rally Championship leader Ford has named Spain's Dani Solà and Xavier Amigo as nominated drivers for next month's Corona Rally Mexico. The pair will drive an M-Sport prepared Ford Focus RS World Rally Car on the third round of the FIA World Rally Championship. They will join BP-Ford World Rally Team drivers Toni Gardemeister and Jakke Honkanen as Ford's nominated points scorers.
Gardemeister's BP-Ford team-mates Roman Kresta and Jan Tomanek will drive the BP Ultimate-branded Focus RS in which they finished eighth on both the Monte Carlo Rally and the Swedish Rally this season. They will be eligible for drivers' points but will not score for the manufacturers' series.
BP-Ford team director Malcolm Wilson took the decision following the Swedish Rally, at which Ford took a three point lead in the manufacturers' championship and Gardemeister's second consecutive podium earned him a one point advantage in the drivers' standings.
Twenty-nine-year-old Solà was FIA Junior World Rally champion in 2002, winning the category in Spain, Germany and Great Britain. He won the Group N production car category in Mexico on the event's inaugural appearance in the championship in 2004 and claimed his best result in Spain last October when he finished sixth overall. Solà is spending this week at M-Sport's Dovenby Hall base in England and will test a latest specification Focus RS WRC on gravel on Thursday.
"Dani's previous experience in Mexico tipped the decision in his favour," said Wilson. "He drove there in 2003, when the rally was not in the world championship, and again last season. Two years' experience of the stages there gives the team an advantage over our rivals. This move will also help Roman come to terms with a new rally. He can discover the characteristics of the Mexican roads at his own pace without having to worry about pushing to score points for Ford. He is in the middle of a steep learning programme and drivers' points on both rallies so far indicate that he is coping extremely well."
Solà added: "I am totally committed to getting the very best possible result for Ford and, personally for Malcolm. Without any doubt, it's a privilege for me to represent Ford. The fact is that I'm working with one of the best teams in the world of rallies. My week at M-Sport is a great opportunity to work on a thorough knowledge of the mechanics of the car since that's a very important aspect of the new format for rallies."
The Corona Rally Mexico will be the first of six WRC events for Solà in an M-Sport-prepared Focus RS which is supported by Telefonica MoviStar and backed by Spain's RACC Automobile Club. He will also compete in Germany, Japan, France, Spain and Australia.