The Autosport International Show in Birmingham, England was used as the occasion to unveil the new 2012 color scheme and livery for the Ford World Rally Team’s Ford Fiesta RS World Rally Car. It took place with Ford of Europe motorsport chief Gerard Quinn and director of the Ford World Rally Team Malcolm Wilson, ahead of the opening round of the FIA World Rally Championship next week.
Although the car has lost its Abu Dhabi colors, the team will continue to be sponsored by Castrol EDGE motor oils, which now appears more prominently than in 2011.
The Fiesta RS WRC, with its four wheel-drive and 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine will again spearhead Ford’s challenge in the 2012 and 2013 championships. The car claimed a clean sweep of the podium in both the first and final rounds of its debut season last year, and nearly took the 2011 title, only to lose points in the final round.
Finland’s Jari-Matti Latvala and co-driver Miikka Anttila, who topped the rankings for special stage victories in 2011, and who won the final round of the championship in Rally GB last season, have been 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.
Gerard Quinn, Ford of Europe’s senior manager for motorsport, said: “We have a great partnership with M-Sport and Malcolm Wilson, and great technical partners in Castrol. Our strong driver line-up includes Jari-Matti Latvala, recognized as one of motorsport’s rising stars. Already regarded by many as the fastest driver in WRC, during 2011 he showed consistency and expertise on all surfaces. We believe he will flourish in his new role as team leader with the Ford World Rally Team, and look forward to seeing his pace light up the special stages around the world.
“The addition of Petter Solberg to the team brings one of the sport’s most experienced and flamboyant drivers back to the team where he started his top-level career. A drivers’ world title in 2003 and 13 world rally victories are testament to his abilities and his vast experience will be a great asset to our driver line-up.”
Malcolm Wilson, team director and M-Sport managing director, said: “It’s great to have Ford onboard as manufacturers again this season, and you can see from the new livery how important Castrol EDGE will be again in 2012 as a technical partner.
“After such a strong performance last year we are really excited about where we can be at the end of the season. With the car and driving team we have, alongside the experience and expertise of our employees at Dovenby Hall, and our partners, I am confident we can challenge for world titles.”