Having shed two of its more experienced rally campaigners at the end of the 2002 world championship campaign, Ford team M-Sport has signed up another famous name to begin the next generation.

Antony Warmbold is the 24-year old son of German legend Achim, who twice won world championship events in the 1970s and later managed the works Mazda effort that saw success with Timo Salonen and Hannu Mikkola. The pair teamed up at the start of Antony's career, with son navigating for father before heading off in his own direction behind the wheel.

Partnered by British co-driver Gemma Price, he has since competed regularly in the European Championship, primarily in a Toyota Corolla, but will move over to a factory-supported, customer Ford Focus for an almost complete WRC campaign in 2003.

"Over the past two and a half years I have competed in as many of the world rally championship events as my European commitments have allowed," he told Ford Rallye Sport's official website, "I have also undertaken a rigorous testing programme and, where possible, have completed a number of WRC reconnaissances, including the Network Q Rally of Great Britain recce last week, with the aim of competing in as many world rally events in 2003 as are logistically possible.

"I am not looking to go out there and set the championship alight. My key goal is to finish every round we start and gain as much experience as possible. We will be giving ourselves a chance to get to know the character of each of the WRC events we are contending. I have support and guidance from my team and family and we will all learn and grow together over the season. Our satisfaction will come from completing the last stage on the last day of each of the world championship events that we start."

Warmbold's 2003 WRC programme is expected to include 13 of the scheduled 14 rounds, with the Rally of Australia omitted, and will benefit from the M-Sport's technical and engineering expertise.

"We are delighted that the young up and coming drivers are looking to the Ford Focus as the ideal vehicle in which to broaden their experience and this will further ensure the Focus is competing at the highest level internationally," team boss Malcolm Wilson said.


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