Ford senior motorsport manager Gerard Quinn has ended speculation that the firm was on the verge of committing to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge ahead of next season, with confirmation that the blue oval's only global involvement in rallying remains in the World Rally Championship.
There had been rumors that Ford was considering signing up for the Eurosport-backed series on the back of it sanctioning and backing M-Sport's design and production of the Fiesta S2000. Quinn poured cold water, however, on suggestions that "official" Fords would be seen in the IRC.
"For Ford, the World Rally Championship is the premier motorsport event we want to be involved in," he said. "The WRC gives us much more coverage globally than the IRC would. The World Rally Championship is, by name, a world championship and something we've always been associated with. IRC is not the way we want to go. We have committed to the WRC for the next two years, so that's where we will be. We won't do the IRC."
Quinn said Ford was pleased with what Malcolm Wilson's M-Sport company was doing with the Fiesta. He added: "M-Sport is doing its own program with the Super 2000 in IRC, with our blessing and we have been heavily involved in Super 2000 in supporting M-Sport both on the technical and financial side, but it's their [M-Sport's] program."
IRC general manager Marcello Lotti has confirmed he is in negotiations with a private team which will be running a brace of Fiesta S2000s in IRC next season.