Ford Martini World Rally team drivers Colin McRae and Simon Jean-Joseph started today's Monte Carlo Rally, the opening round of the 1999 FIA World Rally Championship, after Ford lodged an appeal against a decision to exclude its Focus World Rally...
Ford Martini World Rally team drivers Colin McRae and Simon Jean-Joseph started today's Monte Carlo Rally, the opening round of the 1999 FIA World Rally Championship, after Ford lodged an appeal against a decision to exclude its Focus World Rally cars for an alleged technical infringement.
The FIA technical delegate claimed that the water pump on the cars did not comply with the sport's technical regulations. The matter was then referred to the Stewards of the Meeting who agreed to let both Ford Martini World Rally team cars compete under appeal. Ford's case was assisted by a letter to the Stewards, signed by all competing registered manufacturers, requesting that both Focus be allowed to start under appeal.
No date has been set for the appeal and the matter will now be raised at the next FIA Manufacturers' Commission meeting.
Martin Whitaker, European Director of Ford Racing, said the company believed the cars complied with the regulations. "Ford has been involved in rallying and other forms of motor racing for many years and has always demonstrated the highest levels of integrity and honesty in its participation in motorsport.
"At no stage in the development of the Ford Focus rally car did we believe that the water pump system would be outside the scope of the technical regulations for the 1999 FIA World Rally Championship. Ford has at all times maintained an open approach with the FIA throughout the design and development of the Focus WRC. We look forward to a satisfactory conclusion from the Manufacturers' Commission meeting.
"Now we can concentrate on the rally itself, the debut of the Ford Focus WRC, and continue the progress made during the last two months of testing," added Whitaker.
The four-day rally, opening round of the FIA World Rally Championship, covers almost 425km of asphalt special stages over Alpine mountain roads. The latest weather forecast suggests drivers must prepare for snow and ice.
After a liaision section today from Monte Carlo to Gap, the competition starts in earnest tomorrow when the drivers tackle five stages totalling 161km before returning to Gap.