The BP Ford World Rally Team won the manufacturer's title two years in a row in the World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2006 and 2007. Then, with the team's ace driver - Marcus Grönholm - retiring, BP Ford looked to new drivers to defend its championship. They were Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala. Joined by a new partner, the name of the team has changed BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team.
The racing machine at the opening round was the 2007-spec Focus RS WRC, a car that only produced a large amount of downforce, thanks mainly to the work of aerodynamicist Christian Loriaux, but also had a great deal of its mass centralized and lowered in the middle of the chassis. The engine cranked out and impressive 300 HP/6000 rpm and 405.0 ft-lb of torque at 4000, with all of this power routed to all four wheels through a 5-speed sequential-shift gearbox.
At that year's Swedish Rally, Latvala became the youngest drive to ever win a race in the WRC (he was 22 years old). Teammate Hirvonen placed second, and another Focus RS WRC, this one driven by Gigi Galli, finished third, giving Ford all three spots on the podium.
In the 10th around at Rally Germany, the 2008-sped Focus RS WRC, with its improved aerodynamics and more powerful engine, made its first appearance of the year. Perhaps it was too little too late, as the Ford works team was unable to defend its constructor's title. Thanks in part to the steady driving of Hirvonen, however, the team placed 2nd that year in the manufacturer's championship.
- ↑ Singularized as "year" in-game