Earl Of March To Drive Acropolis-Winning World Rally Championship Ford Focus At Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Lord March, creator and host of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, will drive a World Rally Championship Ford Focus up the Goodwood hillclimb on the first afternoon of the 2002 Festival, Friday 12, July 2002.

No mean performer in high powered machinery, Lord March has driven a variety of sports and racing cars at Goodwood, and has the advantage of knowing the famous hill outside his house better than anybody.

"This will be my first Goodwood run in a contemporary rally car, and I'm anticipating it will be quite unlike anything I've driven here before" he said. "Rally cars always go well at Goodwood – they have phenomenal acceleration and grip, and they fit the track a little better than some of the big single seaters and sports cars. I'm looking forward to what I am sure will be a thrilling experience."

Lord March will drive the Ford Focus that Ford Rallye Sport drivers Colin McRae and Nicky Grist took to victory on the Acropolis Rally in Greece last month. The Britons claimed victory in Europe's toughest rally, seventh round of the FIA World Rally Championship, after three days of competition in gruelling heat over rocky mountain tracks.

It was the team's second consecutive triumph following their victory in Argentina and the third straight win in Greece for Ford and McRae, who now has five Acropolis crowns to his name. The win also moved McRae alongside Ford team-mate Carlos Sainz and Tommi Mäkinen at the top of the all-time winners list with 24 successes.

Team director Malcolm Wilson was delighted with his squad's performance. "We won in Argentina under strange circumstances but this was a real win. We led from start to finish and this kick-starts Colin's championship hopes and gives us 14 points we really needed. We proved again that on rough surfaces, we're the team to beat," he said.

Following the toughest rally in Europe, drivers must now face the hardest event of all. Nairobi hosts Kenya's Safari Rally on July 12-14, one of the championship's classics and at almost three times longer than a traditional round, a severe test of car and driver endurance.

Published : 08/07/02 Author : Melanie Carter

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