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Gardemeister handed Ford drive

Started by Arnold, November 28, 2004, 10:41:27 PM

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Finland's Toni Gardemeister will drive for the Ford team in next year's World Rally Championship.

The 29-year-old, who has driven for the Seat and Skoda works teams, has signed a one-year contract to compete in all 16 rounds of the season.

Compatriot Jakke Honkanen will be his co-driver after the retirement this year of Paavo Lukander.

"Toni has earned his reputation as a quick and highly consistent driver," said Ford team director Malcolm Wilson.

"He is now ready to make the step up to a frontline team and I'm confident he will do a superb job for us next season."

Championship runners-up Ford had Estonian Markko Martin and Belgian Francois Duval as their drivers this year.

Martin is expected to move to Peugeot while Duval has joined Citroen, despite both French carmakers announcing their withdrawal after the 2005 season.

Gardemeister will begin testing for Ford, who have made a four-year commitment to the championship, in Sweden next week.
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