German Antony Warmbold is the first privateer to confirm a full 16-round assault on the 2004 FIA World Rally Championship behind the wheel of a Ford Focus RS WRC02, to be run by British-based Motorsport Specialist M-Sport.

The 25-year old German, who completed a 12-event programme this season (pictured), is aiming to build on the experience gained during his first year at world level.

"We set ourselves manageable goals this season, which were to finish every round we started and get as much knowledge of the events as possible," he said. "Next year we are looking forward to building on that experience and have targeted a number of events where we will be fighting hard for a good finish."

Warmbold will be entered in a selection of events - including the season opener Rallye Monte Carlo - as Ford's third manufacturer's car, and take part in the remaining rounds as part of a new 'Two Car Team' run by M-Sport.

Sporting a new blue livery, M-Sport have upgraded Warmbold's Ford Focus RS WRC02 to ultimate specification and will provide all necessary technical and logistical backup for his 2004 campaign.

"I am delighted to have this programme in place and am looking forward to getting the season underway," beamed Antoney. "We have a great base to work from for next year and the increased commitment and support from M-Sport will put us in a great position for 2004.

"I am looking forward to competing for the second time on the events we did this season and also the exciting challenges offered by new rounds in Mexico and Japan and of course the changes to Italy," he added.

Warmbold will again be joined by regular co-driver, 22-year old Gemma Price from Wolverhampton, UK.