Ford Rallye Sport will change tyre partner for the 2003 FIA World Rally Championship season and run its Ford Focus RS World Rally Cars on Michelin rubber for the next three years. The Focus used the French company's tyres for two seasons following the car's debut in 1999.

Team director Malcolm Wilson said Ford had one year remaining of its contract with Italian tyre supplier Pirelli but following amicable discussions between both parties it was agreed to take an option to terminate the agreement.

"We have enjoyed two successful years with Pirelli and thank them for their support. Together we have made some major improvements and this has seen us finish runner-up in the world championship for two years in a row as well as winning six rounds during this time," said Wilson.

"The World Rally Championship is Ford Motor Company's premier global motorsport activity and as such we have some exciting plans for the future. We felt it was in the best interests of all parties to utilise this option now and enable us to renew our development links with Michelin," he said.

-ford-