Former world rally champion Petter Solberg will join the Ford works team as the second driver alongside Jari-Matti Latvala, who has been confirmed as lead driver in the Fiesta RS World Rally Car.
Solberg will replace Mikko Hirvonen, who in turn has replaced Sebastien Ogier at Citroen to team up with World Champion, Loeb.
Finland’s Jari-Matti Latvala and co-driver Miikka Anttila, who topped the world rankings for special stage victories in 2011, and won the final round of the championship in Britain last month, are confirmed as team leaders for 2012.
They will be partnered by former world champion Petter Solberg and Chris Patterson, who have signed a one-year agreement to drive the team’s second Fiesta RS WRC in all 13 rounds. The experienced Solberg won the world title in 2003 and the 37 year-old Norwegian has 13 world rally wins to his name. It will be his second stint with Ford, having launched his world rally career with the team in 1999.
Previously, Solberg has been running his own team, driving a privately entered Citroen in order to remain in the WRC.
As well as confirming its drivers, Ford of Europe will continue its World Rally Championship program for 2012 and 2013 after signing a new two-year agreement with British-based M-Sport.
Long-term partner M-Sport has successfully operated Ford’s WRC activities since 1997, and will continue to operate the program from its state-of-the-art facilities at Dovenby Hall in north-west England.
The Fiesta RS World Rally Car will continue as Ford’s WRC flagship in 2012 and 2013. The car claimed a clean sweep of the podium in both the first and final rounds of its debut season this year.
The squad will be named Ford World Rally Team and will retain support from long-term partner Castrol for both 2012 and 2013.
Ford has a long and successful heritage in rallying. It is second in the all-time wins list with 79 world rally victories, and its run of 145 consecutive points finishes, dating back to the opening round of the 2002 championship, is the longest in the sport’s history.