Red-faced Ford drivers raise funny money for Comic Relief
Ford's World Rally Championship drivers proved they have a nose for fun when they lent their support to the comedy capers of British charity Comic Relief's fund-raising Red Nose Day during the Cyprus Rally today.

'Do Something Funny for Money' is Comic Relief's catchline, and BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team's drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala captured the spirit of the day and raised laughs by wearing the charity's hallmark plastic red noses during the opening leg of the three-day rally.

Even their Ford Focus RS World Rally Cars were fitted with special magnetic red noses as they sped over the island's roads!

"Three days of flat out driving over Cyprus' mountain roads is a serious business, so I wasn't going to turn my nose up at having some fun along the way," said 28-year-old Hirvonen. "This is one of the toughest rallies on the calendar and it won't be easy to put my nose in front of my rivals before Sunday's finish, but that's my aim."

In between keeping the team's Focus RS WRCs in perfect health, team members joined in the clowning around by persuading their colleagues around the Limassol service park to pop on a red nose in return for a donation. Team members hard at work back at the squad's M-Sport base at Dovenby Hall in Cumbria, England, were not left out either as collecting tins were sent around the workshop.

All money raised will be donated to Comic Relief on the team's return to Britain after the rally finish on Sunday.

Since 1985 Comic Relief, which is held every two years, has inspired the UK to have fun while raising cash to help change lives. The money raised is spent to help poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged people turn their lives around across Africa, throughout the world's poorest countries and also in Britain. During the last Comic Relief day in 2007, more than £67 million was raised.

Ford of Europe motorsport director Mark Deans sported a red nose himself and said: "As a British-based team, we decided to support Comic Relief even though we are out of the country. We had some strange looks initially when we explained to our non-English team members what Red Nose Day was all about, but now we can't get them to take their noses off. Our Finnish drivers have even been wearing them in the car on liaison sections between the special stages! We've all had some good fun while raising money for a very worthwhile cause."

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