The Ford Focus driven by Ian Khong and co-driven by Adrian Koh flew to victory in the last round of the Malaysian Rally Championship with a 1st in Class P12 Win, and emerged as the Overall Champion (Non-Homologated Cars ) in the Malaysian Rally Championship 2004. This is the debut year for the Ford Focus and the duo have created history by being the first locally prepared Ford Focus 4WD ever to enter a Malaysian Rally and possibly in the Asia Pacific region. This is a great achievement for Ford Malaysia.
The ford Rally team proved the critics wrong in the year 2002 and 2003 by outclassing more powerful 4WD cars in some of the rounds using a 2WD Ford Lynx.
Now in 2004, the Ford Racing Team has created history again with the success of the Ford Focus, which showed consistency to secure the championship in the final round of the season, at the same time pulling off a 1st in Class win besides bagging the overall class championship for non-homologated cars.
The Ford Racing Team, owned by Ford Malaysia, had been away from motor sports for more than a decade. It was only in the last two years that they returned to active participation by fielding the Ford Lynx rally car in the local tarmac rally series. The team made an immediate impact with a 3rd in class placing in its first event, and secured a 2nd Overall placing in the Championship.
The Ford Racing Team owed its successes to the superior handling characteristics of its cars. In 2004, after the tarmac rally series was cancelled, the Ford Focus, originally prepared for Tarmac action, was modified to tackle the dirt and gravel stages of the Malaysian Rally Championships.
The Ford Focus was built from scratch from a 4-door 1.8 Zetec model by Ford Malaysia, in collaboration with YSKhong Motorsports. (YS Khong was Malaysian Rally Champion for 5 out of the 7 annual championships in the period 1981 to 1987, and has built many rally and race cars in his career both as a race and rally driver, and team manager.)
In the final round of the 2004 Malaysian Rally Championships, the Ford Focus driven by Ian Khong and Adrian Koh, was ahead of the rest of its class by 7 minutes after Leg 1. Despite only having dry tyres for the duration of the rally, Ian and Adrian managed to keep the car on the road in spite of the continuous rain and the resultant muddy conditions throughout the two days of the rally. Said Ian , “We were having a difficult time in the wet stages with dry tyres. We had a few scary moments when we went off into the sugarcanes in SS8 & SS9. Fortunately we were able to get back onto the road without suffering any severe damage. We then decided it was best ease off to maintain our current position to win the more important overall championship.”
After getting his laurels, the happy champion said,” This is my debut year on gravel rallies and it is really awesome to be driving the Ford Focus to a successful championship season. The Ford Focus is a great car to drive on the tight and twisty Malaysian stages. The Focus has excellent handling, and I guess I have to thank my dad and my brother Ivan for all the driving tips.”
Motorsports fans are looking forward to more action from the Ford Rally Team next year.