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The Ford Rallye Sport team confirmed today that its world rally team official test pilot Mark Higgins will be driving a Ford Focus RS WRC rally car on this weekend's Pirelli International Rally (26-28 April) in Northumbria - the opening round of the 2002 British Rally Championship.

The 30-year old English man from mid-Wales will rally a 1999 Focus WRC, updated and resplendent in full 2002 Martini-striped livery. The car is used regularly to give VIP and media passenger rides (often driven by Mark) and was driven by Colin McRae to score the model's first-ever victory on the 1999 Safari Rally.

"I'm really going to enjoy rallying the Focus once again in front of a British crowd," enthused Higgins. "The Ford has a fantastic performance on gravel, as its seven world rally wins on this surface show, and I'll be hoping to notch up Ford's 14th victory on this classic event in the British rally calendar. The stages through Kielder Forest are incredibly tough, fast and unforgiving, but they are a thrilling challenge that drivers can find immensely satisfying when everything goes well."

Mark's Focus drive on the Pirelli Rally is a one-off outing as a 'reward' from Ford and Pirelli for all his hard work carrying out test and development programmes with the M-Sport (Cumbria) built Focus. Mark's role is key to helping the Ford Rallye Sport team provide Colin McRae, Carlos Sainz and Markko Martin with the best possible rally cars for their assault on the FIA World Rally Championship.

The 2002 Pirelli Rally marks the return of World Rally Cars to the British Championship and Higgin's Focus faces more than a dozen would-be rivals from Subaru, Toyota and Hyundai, which should ensure a spectacularly close fight to the finish of this demanding event.

http://www.rally-live.com/gb/
 
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