Ford has confirmed that world championship stars FranÃ§ois Delecour and Daniel Grataloup will drive a Ford Focus RS World Rally Car on next month's Rallye Deutschland. The French pairing will be behind the wheel of an RS-liveried car on the ...
Ford has confirmed that world championship stars François Delecour and Daniel Grataloup will drive a Ford Focus RS World Rally Car on next month's Rallye Deutschland. The French pairing will be behind the wheel of an RS-liveried car on the three-day asphalt rally based in Trier on 6 - 8 July.
Delecour, one of three regular drivers in the Ford Martini team which currently leads the FIA World Rally Championship, will be joined in a two-car line-up by Austrian Raimund Baumschlager. He will drive the regular Red Bull-backed Focus in which he lies third in the Austrian Championship.
"We looked at the options of François, Colin McRae or Carlos Sainz driving in Germany," said Ford Martini World Rally team director Malcolm Wilson. "Our testing programme for the Safari Rally starts the same weekend and we've decided that Colin and Carlos will continue their preparations for Kenya as scheduled while François will compete in Germany.
"Several world championship teams are attending the rally so François will face strong competition not only from those cars but also from private entrants keen to match their paces against the world's best," added Wilson.
Delecour, regarded as an expert on asphalt, will start as one of the favourites for victory. "I'm delighted to have been given the chance to drive on the rally," he said. "It has a very good reputation and it will be a good opportunity for Ford to bring our world championship competition cars for the German fans to see in action."
The rally, a round of the FIA European Rally Championship, is based close to Ford of Europe's headquarters in Cologne and is therefore of particular interest to the company and its employees.
"It's great news that François and our Ford team will be competing in Germany, especially so close to our Cologne base. Rallying is an important showcase for Ford and this event is a perfect platform to demonstrate the capabilities of the Focus RS," said Bernhard Mattes, Ford Germany's marketing and sales director.
The organisers have modified the rally considerably this year to meet the criteria for a world championship event and will be observed closely by the sport's governing body with a view to possible inclusion in next year's WRC series. It will comprise 18 timed special stages, covering 350km in a total route of 1179km.