Motor sport: Ford fix up prime pair

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The Independent Online
THE FORD team has pulled off a major coup for the 1999 British Touring Car Championship season by signing up two of this season's top three drivers: Alain Menu and Anthony Reid.

Ford's move underlines its determination to halt a series of disappointing seasons for the Mondeo and secure a regular place among the front-runners. Menu is widely regarded as the best driver in the world of the front-wheel drive Super Touring cars used in the BTCC. The 35-year-old Swiss is the reigning BTCC champion and finished runner-up in each of the previous three seasons. His move signals an end to a relationship with Renault which dates back to 1993, and a return to Prodrive, the team which Ford has switched its programme to for 1999, and for whom Menu made his BTCC debut driving a BMW in 1992.

Reid, 39, is now in only his second BTCC season, but he has behind him a long and successful professional career in Japan and mainland Europe, and has this year won as many races as anyone in the championship (four) and taken more pole positions and fastest laps than any other driver. For his current employer, Nissan, Reid is currently second in the BTCC points standings, with Menu third.