Ford Motor Company today became the most successful manufacturer in the history of the FIA World Rally Championship after Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila secured the company's 75th WRC victory.
The duo won Rally New Zealand in their Ford Focus RS World Rally Car and moved the company to the top of the all-time win list, smashing a record that has stood since 1992.
The Finns won the demanding three-day mixed surface event by just 2.4 seconds, also extending Ford's record-breaking run of consecutive points finishes to 124. Ford lies just five points from the lead of the manufacturers' championship, while Latvala lies second in the drivers' standings after five rounds of the 13-rally series.
Ford's tally of 75 victories since the championship was founded in 1973 has helped the company take the manufacturers' world title in 1979, 2006 and 2007 and the drivers' world crown in 1979 and 1981.
Seventeen high profile drivers have contributed to the record effort, which began in 1973 at the 1000 Lakes Rally in Finland. They are Timo Mäkinen, Hannu Mikkola, Roger Clark, Bjorn Waldegard, Kyosti Hamalainen, Ari Vatanen, Didier Auriol, François Delecour, Miki Biasion, Gianfranco Cunico, Tommi Mäkinen, Carlos Sainz, Colin McRae, Markko Märtin, Marcus Grönholm, Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala.
The most successful drivers are current BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally team lead pilot Mikko Hirvonen and fellow Finn Marcus Gronholm with 12 victories. Gronholm led Ford to the manufacturers' world title in 2006 and 2007 in a Focus RS WRC.
"This is a landmark achievement of which everyone at Ford rightly can be proud," said John Fleming, Ford of Europe chairman and CEO. "Ford has a long and illustrious motorsport heritage, especially in rallying where our participation dates back more than 70 years. We were involved in WRC when it began in 1973 and it remains Ford's major global motorsport activity. We're there because we're competitive and we win, and when we win our customers win too, as we learn a huge amount from rallying and apply this knowledge to our road cars.
"Our participation in WRC highlights a core attribute of Ford vehicles – driving quality. The WRC is the toughest competition in motorsport for production-based cars. A record-breaking 75 wins at the sport's highest level speaks volumes about the strength, speed and reliability of both our competition cars and our road vehicles."
"Twenty different manufacturers have enjoyed the prestige of a WRC event victory," added Gerard Quinn, Ford of Europe's motorsport chief.
"Ford is fortunate enough to have stood on the top step of the podium on 75 occasions. The legendary Escort, the Sierra and now the Focus, which is still winning in its 12th and final season as Ford's WRC challenger, have all contributed to a remarkable record and I hope there are many more wins to come," he concluded.