Ford announces Roman Kresta for 2005 WRC season
Ford Motor Company is today announcing that Roman Kresta has signed a contract to drive in next season's FIA World Rally Championship. The Czech driver will tackle the 2005 championship at the wheel of a Ford Focus RS World Rally Car. He will partner Finland's Toni Gardemeister, to complete the Blue Oval team's driver line-up.
Twenty-eight-year-old Kresta is already experienced at world championship level, having started 20 rallies since his debut in an M-Sport-run Ford Focus WRC on the Acropolis Rally in 2001. He will be co-driven by fellow countryman Jan Tomanek, who has sat beside him on all but three of his world championship outings.
Since his debut in 1994, Kresta has spent time competing within his home country, claiming the Czech International Rally Championship for drivers in 2000 and 2001, at the wheel of a factory-supported Skoda Octavia WRC. His experience of the world championship comes from driving selected events for Skoda and Bozian Racing in a Peugeot 206 WRC.
"Roman has been selected from a shortlist of seven drivers who could come up with the requirements that we needed for 2005," said team director Malcolm Wilson. "Like his new team-mate Toni Gardemeister, I feel that he has never had the ultimate world rally car in which to show his true potential.
"Roman has set some excellent stage times against tough competition and he's a highly regarded test driver. Going forward to next season and the possibility of having only one service during each leg, a driver with good mechanical knowledge is essential to the team," added Wilson.
Kresta will begin testing for the team in Sweden tomorrow (Saturday). He will spend the weekend familiarising himself with the Focus RS WRC and tyre testing with Michelin. A full report and photographs will be available on Monday 6 December on www.fordrallyesport.com
The 2005 championship will be the last for the current Focus RS WRC model. A new-generation Focus RS WRC is currently being developed by Wilson's M-Sport company, the team which operates Ford's rally programme, and will be introduced at the start of the 2006 championship.