BRENTWOOD, England, 4 August, 2000 - Ford is delighted to confirm that British rally ace and former World Champion driver Colin McRae has signed a new two-year contract with the Ford World Rally team. Martin Whitaker, European Director of...
BRENTWOOD, England, 4 August, 2000 - Ford is delighted to confirm that British rally ace and former World Champion driver Colin McRae has signed a new two-year contract with the Ford World Rally team.
Martin Whitaker, European Director of Ford Racing commented: "We are delighted that Colin has renewed his commitment to Ford. Today's announcement sends a clear message to our competitors that we are determined to take Ford back to the top of global motor sport. The achievements of Colin and the team at M-Sport have given us a great platform from which to attack the championship in forthcoming years. Our commitment in terms of technical and human resources is unquestioned. This news will be welcomed throughout the company and gives us the best possible driver line-up for the future."
Colin McRae, who celebrates his 32nd birthday tomorrow, has led the team's development of the Ford Focus, the world's top-selling car, as a World Rally Car. He currently lies third in the World Rally Championship for drivers ahead of his Ford team-mate and fellow former world champion Carlos Sainz. Together with their co-drivers Nicky Grist and Luis Moya, they have taken Ford to second place in the World Championship for Manufacturers, after two victories this year in Spain and Greece, with six rounds of the 2000 championship remaining.
"I am totally committed to my goal of winning the championship again," enthused Colin. "I feel that with the current level of confidence throughout the Ford team we have a real chance of achieving this. Now I have signed a contract with Ford for two more years the whole team can be settled in the knowledge that we will be focused on winning. We have already achieved a huge amount together with the
new Focus and I am absolutely convinced that, with the engineering resources behind us there is much more to come."
The announcement sends a strong message of Ford's determination to succeed in the FIA World Rally Championship. The series represents Ford's premier global motor sport activity and company President and CEO, Jacques Nasser, underlined this commitment to success at the top of the sport, during a visit to the M-Sport team's new headquarters at Dovenby Hall in Cumbria last month.
The announcement is further strengthened by a strategic move to include the World Rally Championship team as part of Ford's global mainstream Product Development Division, under Richard Parry-Jones, Group Vice President, Product Development and Quality, Ford Automotive Operations.
Ford's World Rally Championship team, M-Sport, is now based at new 'Formula One' style premises. The impressive, purpose-built facilities serve the needs of the world championship Ford team and were created by Team Director Malcolm Wilson.
"With today's confirmation that Colin has signed with us for two more years, we see the beginning of a whole new era in Ford motor sport history," commented Wilson. "The Focus World Rally Car is already an enormous success in the hands of Colin and Carlos Sainz. If you combine their input with the world-class team facilities which we now have, the stability we can provide and the significant benefits we will gain from integration with Product Development - then I whole heartedly believe Ford Racing will become the force to be reckoned with in rallying."
McRae, whose new contract begins in 2001, will join team mate Carlos Sainz in Ford Focus World Rally Cars for the next round of the World Rally Championship, the Rally Finland, August 17-20.
From Lanark in Scotland, Colin McRae is among Britain's most successful sportsmen and one of the leading rally drivers of his generation. Under the watchful eye of his father Jimmy, himself a hugely successful rally driver and five-times British Champion, Colin developed his skills at an early age and started his rallying career in 1986. Less than one year later he made his FIA World Rally Championship debut and achieved his first international victory at the age of 22. His first World Championship title came in 1995 and Colin remains focused on repeating that success in the remainder of the 2000 season.