Supported by Pirelli, the UK’s premier rally series had cause to celebrate over the weekend as Ford Motor Company lodged their entry for the 2012 MSA British Rally Manufacturers’ Championship.
The announcement came just hours before the start of a nail-bitingly close British Rally Championship season-opener, the Rallye Sunseeker International, which saw Ireland’s Mark Donnelly claim his maiden BRC victory.
Famed for their success on the world stage, Ford can also boast a rich history in rallying at national level with the “Blue Oval” winning the prestigious British title 18 times since the introduction of the UK series in 1958.
The last time an official Ford entry won the coveted BRC title was back in 1996, when Gwyndaf Evans claimed the accolade at the wheel of an F2 Escort RS2000.
This season, Ford will join a three-way battle with French giants Renault and Citroen as all three manufacturers vie for championship honours. Points for the manufacturers’ championship will be awarded to the two highest finishing cars of each marque.
This latest announcement adds to a series of positive news for the UK’s premier rally series, which has undergone a significant facelift for the 2012 season. Gone are the days of four-wheel-drive machines that have dominated the BRC for over a decade; this year only two-wheel-drive cars will be eligible to score points throughout the six-round series.
“This is great news and I am delighted that Ford has decided to join the BRC”, said championship manager, Mark Taylor.
“It further underlines that our decision to keep in step with current trends by making the championship eligible for modern-day, front-wheel-drive cars, is the right one. I am also pleased for our teams, who will now have an even greater opportunity to represent the manufacturer of the car they are driving.”
Pirelli Tyre’s UK motorsport manager, Carl Naylor, echoed Taylor’s sentiments.
“The British Rally Championship has been going from strength to strength over the past few years,” said Naylor. “Ford has a fantastic track record competing in the BRC, and alongside Renault and Citroen, we can look forward to an extremely exciting season ahead.”