Just days after clinching the Manufacturers' crown, and a few more before one of its drivers lands the individual title, Ford has revealed that it is quitting the touring car arena.

Following in the footsteps of Volvo, Alfa Romeo and Audi before it, the Blue Oval feels that it has achieved all it can with the current model range and, with the BTCC rules set to change radically next year, wants to see how the new-look series develops before re-committing to a works entry.

Although the marque already has a car, in the Focus, that would fit the new regulations - which favour smaller cars than the current Mondeo - it is reluctant to confuse the public by running the car in both the BTCC and the World Rally Championship, where it is achieving a lot of success. Ironically, however, the Focus may still be seen in the 2001 championship, as current National Saloon Cup entrants consider graduating to the BTCC next year.

Whichever of its three drivers wins the title at Silverstone this weekend will, surprisingly, become the first Mondeo driver to take the crown, although New Zealander Paul Radisich proved the early potential of the car with back-to-back World Cup wins in the mid-1990s.

Alain Menu, Anthony Reid and Rickard Rydell remain in contention for the honours with just two, floodlit, races remaining.


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