Indeed, it was a weekend to remember for Ford’s global motorsport program, as the company took major victories in the World Rally Championship, NASCAR Sprint Cup, Chinese Touring Cars and X Games rally competition.
“It’s a great example of how our product is winning the world over,” said Jim Farley, Ford group vice president of global marketing, sales and service. “Motorsport is such an important part of our company’s DNA, and there’s a lot of pride that we have teams and drivers that are winning all over the world. It’s something we as a company, and as a racing programme, have been doing for years.”
Here’s a brief summary of the weekend victories:
World Rally Championship
BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drivers Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila won a thrilling Rally Finland on Saturday to earn a place in the history books. The Finns won the eighth round of the FIA World Rally Championship for the first time by 10.1sec in a Ford Focus RS World Rally Car, joining a long list of Finnish greats who have triumphed in their home event.
Latvala and Anttila were mobbed by their fellow countrymen as they took to the podium in Jyväskylä. Twenty-five-year-old Latvala, already the youngest driver to win a world rally, became the youngest winner of Rally Finland since the WRC started in 1973. It was Ford’s second consecutive victory in the legendary event following the success of Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen in 2009, and the manufacturer’s fourth win in five years.
NASCAR Sprint Cup
Greg Biffle used late-race pit strategy to pull away in the final 20 laps and win a wild, emotional Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono, Pa. on Sunday, breaking a personal, 64-race winless streak, and giving Ford a long-awaited first Sprint Cup victory this year. It was also the first points win for Ford’s new FR9 NASCAR engine.
Biffle, battling to remain one of the 12 drivers who will compete in the Sprint Cup Championship playoffs, dedicated the win to team owner Jack Roush, who was seriously injured in a plane crash earlier in the week. Biffle spoke to Roush by telephone after the victory.
The ROCKSTAR Fiesta duo of Tanner Foust and Brian Deegan finished 1-2 in both the Rally Car and Super Rally events, taking home gold and silver medals for Ford Fiesta in the ESPN X Games at the Los Angeles Coliseum Saturday night.
Foust and Deegan ran through the competition in the traditional Rally Car event, setting up an all-Fiesta finale, which Foust won. In the new Super Rally event, the two drivers, along with two other drivers, went head-to-head over five laps of the Coliseum course, with Foust again taking the victory and Deegan coming from behind to finish second.
In its first two years at the event, Ford Fiesta has now won three gold medals in rally racing at the X Games, and six of the available nine medals (three gold, two silver and a bronze).
ChinaTouring Car Championship
Martin Cao, a 17-year-old budding star, took the Ford Focus to victory in Round 4 of the China Touring Car Championship at the Chengdu International Circuit.
With the win, Ford has stretched out its lead in hopes of winning both team and driver championships. Cao’s Ford teammates also did well, with Tengyi-Jang finishing third, Andy Zhen fifth and Rainey-He eighth.