WRC

Ford Focus Appeal Fails

Monte Carlo Rally appeal fails - but FIA confirms Ford played fair Following the Federation Internationale de L'Automobile (FIA) decision today to reject Ford Motor Company's appeal against exclusion from last month's Monte Carlo Rally, Ford...

Monte Carlo Rally appeal fails - but FIA confirms Ford played fair

Following the Federation Internationale de L'Automobile (FIA) decision today to reject Ford Motor Company's appeal against exclusion from last month's Monte Carlo Rally, Ford has confirmed that both Focus World Rally Cars of Colin McRae and Thomas Rådstrom will start the Swedish Rally, round two of the FIA World Rally Championship, which starts on 12 February.

"We're disappointed that the FIA has rejected Ford's appeal against exclusion from the Monte Carlo Rally but that is a decision we accept," said Martin Whitaker, director of Ford Racing Europe. "However, we're heartened that the FIA recognised that Ford never intended to compete unfairly and that its good faith could not be called into question and no fine has been imposed."

The FIA backed the decision by the stewards of the Monte Carlo Rally to exclude both Focus cars from the opening round of the 1999 World Rally Championship because they did not meet the existing FIA technical regulations regarding the size and location of the engine's water pump. The Ford Focus cars contested the event under appeal. McRae finished an excellent third and team-mate Simon Jean-Joseph 11th on the competition debut of the Focus but these achievements have now been declared void.

"It's widely acknowledged that the water pump used on the Monte Carlo Rally did not give any performance advantage. Since Monte Carlo we've been working on a solution to the problem and we will have to develop this in the short space of time between now and the start of the Swedish Rally." said Whitaker.

"It's disappointing to lose our points from Monte Carlo after Colin McRae's superb drive. Every member of the Ford Martini World Rally Team worked so hard both before and during the rally to claim a podium place on the competition debut of the Ford Focus. Nobody can take away the fact that the car was ultra-competitive on its first appearance. That's a remarkable achievement by everyone concerned.

"Ford has been active in rallying and other forms of motor racing for many years and has always demonstrated the highest levels of integrity in its participation in motorsport. At no stage in the development of the Ford Focus rally car did Ford believe that the water pump system would be outside the scope of the technical regulations for the 1999 FIA World Rally Championship," he added.

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Series WRC
Drivers Colin McRae , Thomas Radstrom , Simon Jean-Joseph