BP and Ford to partner in the world rally championship
BP is to become the principal partner of Ford's FIA World Rally Championship campaign, under a new agreement announced today.
The Focus RS of François Duval and Stéphane Pr
évot will support the colours of BP, while the similar car of Markko Märtin and Michael Park will carry the Castrol brand. Both cars will display striking colour schemes based around the new Ford Team RS design seen on the most recent round of the championship in Argentina last month. The team's third Focus RS, of Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen, a privately funded entry, will retain its existing livery.
Jost Capito, director of Ford Team RS, welcomed the new partnership in rallying. "Ford and BP are both leading global organisations and associations between energy companies and the automotive industry have long produced fruitful partnerships in the world of motorsport. BP's support of Ford in the world rally championship will create both technology and business opportunities for both parties and the announcement comes at a very exciting time for the Ford BP Rallye Sport team.
"Our radically new Focus RS World Rally Car captured the imagination of the public on its first two rallies, both with its looks and its speed. We have three of the brightest young drivers in the sport in our line-up and I believe that Ford and BP can confidently look ahead to successful times together," he added.
BP’s General Manager of Group Advertising and Sponsorship, Richard Buitenhek, said the company was looking forward to entering the world rally arena.
"BP has a portfolio of world class brands, including BP and Castrol, and we see our partnership with Ford in the world rally championship as the ideal platform to communicate those brands to the millions of rally fans who follow the sport either on television or at the events themselves. It also allows BP to demonstrate the special relationship that we have developed with the Ford Group over the past few years and which we intend to build further in the future.
World rallying is an excellent proving ground for Castrol to develop and test the latest generation of lubricants. The extreme conditions in which the sport takes place allows Castrol to push lubricants technology to the limit and the benefits will be seen in the performance of the Ford BP team and in the products produced for road cars," he added.
BP and Ford will also be looking to work jointly with the FIA to further use WRC as a platform to introduce safety and environment initiatives intended to improve the sport of rallying and to deliver safety and environmental messages to rally spectators.