Ford signs Marcus GrÃ¶nholm to drive new Focus RS WRC Ford of Europe has signed twice former world champions Marcus GrÃ¶nholm and Timo Rautiainen to drive the all-new Focus RS World Rally Car in the FIA World Rally Championship. Ford has...
Ford signs Marcus Grönholm to drive new Focus RS WRC
Ford of Europe has signed twice former world champions Marcus Grönholm and Timo Rautiainen to drive the all-new Focus RS World Rally Car in the FIA World Rally Championship. Ford has reached a two-year agreement with the Finns. They will make their Ford debut in January's Monte Carlo Rally, the opening round of the 2006 series.
Thirty-seven-year-old Grönholm is acknowledged as one of the very best and one of the most experienced drivers in the WRC. He made his world rally debut in 1989 and has started 115 full world rallies. He has won 18 events and was World Champion in 2000 and 2002. Forty-year-old Rautiainen has partnered him in all his successes.
"We're delighted to announce that Ford has entered into a two-year agreement with Marcus," said Ford TeamRS director Jost Capito. "I believe Marcus and the all-new Focus RS WRC will be the perfect package. He will strengthen our WRC efforts and will join the team at a hugely exciting time for the Blue Oval. Ford is now completing its first season of a four-year commitment to the championship, and initial testing of the new Focus RS WRC will start shortly. Our test programme will continue on November's Rally Australia ahead of the car's full competition debut in Monte Carlo".
"Ford has an incredible opportunity to reach the pinnacle of the sport and Marcus will play a vital role in our aim to win the world championship with the all-new Focus RS WRC," added Capito.
BP-Ford World Rally team director Malcolm Wilson said the agreement with Grönholm was a major boost in the build-up to the 2006 season. "My priority was to sign a driver of the highest calibre, and clearly Marcus Grönholm is that driver," he said. "His experience of the sport at its highest level will prove invaluable as we continue to develop the new Focus RS WRC. He is one of the sport's very fastest and most reliable drivers and his appetite for success remains as large now as it was at the beginning of his distinguished career.
"A signing of this calibre proves how seriously Ford is taking its commitment to the WRC. And for a driver like Marcus, whose world title ambitions are clear for all to see, to commit to the team for two seasons is a huge confidence boost for all of us," said Wilson.
An announcement on Ford's full line-up for next season will be made in due course.