BP-Ford signs exclusive test contract with Roman Kresta

Czech driver Roman Kresta has signed an exclusive test contract with the BP-Ford World Rally Team for 2006. Kresta, who drove a Focus RS World Rally Car for BP-Ford during 2005 and finished eighth in the FIA World Rally Championship, will be the team's official test driver next season.

Twenty-nine-year-old Kresta will play an important part in the development of the all-new Focus RS World Rally Car which the BP-Ford team will campaign in the 2006 championship. The team has a huge test programme next year and Kresta will share the driving with Marcus Gronholm and Mikko Hirvonen, the team's official drivers in the 2006 championship.

The new Focus RS WRC, which is based on the Ford Focus ST road car, enjoyed a successful debut last month on the Rally Australia when Kresta scored the first world championship points for the car.

"Roman proved his abilities as an excellent test driver throughout 2005," said BP-Ford team director Malcolm Wilson. "His technical knowledge is good and I was impressed with his feedback on the new car during Rally Australia. We have a big test schedule next year and Roman will play an important role in the continued development of the new Focus RS WRC, while also easing the workload on Marcus and Mikko."

"It is very good news for me and I am really happy that I will stay with the team," said Kresta. "I know the Ford team really well after the 2005 season and I know what it is capable of. Of course, your racing heart always wants to race and I will miss competition but I am looking forward to my new job. The debut of the new Ford Focus RS World Rally Car in Australia showed how amazing the car is and I cannot wait to drive it again. I will do my best to help the team to improve the car."