Loriaux wins top design award for Ford Focus rally car
BP–Ford World Rally Team technical director Christian Loriaux has won a top design award for his work with the world championship winning Focus RS World Rally Car. The 41–year–old Belgian was named Design Engineer of the Year at the Professional Motorsport World Expo Awards in Cologne by a leading panel of international motorsport experts.

Loriaux has been technical director at M–Sport, the British–based team which operates Ford’s programme in the FIA World Rally Championship, since 2002. The following year his innovative design methods led to the development of the Focus RS WRC 03 – the most technically advanced and revolutionary rally car the sport had seen.

Last year Loriaux unveiled the Focus RS WRC 06 which took the world championship by storm, securing Ford’s first manufacturers’ world title for 27 years with eight wins from 16 rounds. The car went onto win in Sweden, Norway, Italy and Greece during the opening half of the 2007 camp aign.

In August 2007 Loriaux introduced an evolution of that car and the 2007–specification vehicle claimed a memorable 1–2 finish on its debut in Finland. Since then the Focus RS WRC 07 has won in New Zealand and Japan. With two rounds remaining it leads the manufacturers’ series in the hands of Marcus Gronholm and Timo Rautiainen and team–mates Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen, while Gronholm also heads the drivers’ championship.

Before joining BP–Ford, Loriaux played a vital role in winning both manufacturers’ and drivers’ titles with Subaru in the WRC.

"It was a great honour to be recognised with this award by experts from within the motorsport industry," said Loriaux. "But none of our achievements with the Ford Focus RS WRC would have been possible without the expertise, enthusiasm and hard work of the entire design and engineering team at M–Sport. Together with the support of engineers at Ford TeamRS, we developed a world championship winning car in a very short space of time and followed that with an evolution version that has continued our run of rally–winning success.

"Developing a World Rally Car really is a team effort and my thanks go to everyone who contributed to that. But a measure of a rally car’s success is how it performs in competition and with just two rounds remaining, our target is to retain Ford’s manufacturers’ title in the WRCwith the Focus RS," he added.

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