Ford has confirmed that Marcus Gronholm will take on an 'ambassadorial role' with the 'Blue Oval' in 2007.
Gronholm, who joined the BP Ford
World Rally Team in 2006, helped the M-Sport-run outfit clinch the manufacturers' championship the last two years in succession, as well as coming close to taking the drivers' title this season.
Speaking following the announcement that Jari-Matti Latvala
will join the BP Ford
WRT next season, alongside Mikko Hirvonen, Lewis Booth, executive vice chairman for Ford of Europe and Premier Automotive Group, paid tribute to Gronholm's contribution over the last two years.
"The man who so convincingly kept the BP-Ford team at the top of the leader board throughout the year is Marcus Gronholm," he noted. "We couldn't have won "two in a row" without Marcus and Timo [Rautiainen – his co-driver] delivering results so consistently.
"We're really fortunate to have had them both on the team, and we're proud of what they have achieved for Ford. Marcus and Timo have been one of the sport's most successful pairings of all time - in fact their 30 victories have earned Marcus second place on the list for all-time rally wins.
"Such is Marcus' standing in the sport that we did not want to lose him entirely from our team. We are asking Marcus to take an ambassadorial role for Ford of Europe next year."