Ford enjoys positive test
A five-day test in Sweden
Ford World Rally Team technical director Christian Loriaux has described the squad’s five-day test in Sweden last week as “positive”.
Drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala covered approximately 1250 kilometres in a development version of Ford’s all-new Fiesta RS World Rally Car during the test near Kall, which is a popular testing venue in the country.
Latvala ran on Monday and Tuesday with fellow Finn Hirvonen taking over from Wednesday until the end of Friday when the team returned to its base in the United Kingdom.
Loriaux said: “We can’t speak too much about the car because of the embargo [restrictions] but we managed about 250 kilometres each day. There are a few things we would like to improve, which is always the case, but it was a positive test and the drivers are quite happy. The roads Jari used were not so good although they were better for Mikko.
“The problem we have, though, is knowing where we will be compared to our rivals and we won’t get to know that until the first stage in Sweden. We can’t compare the Fiesta to the Focus because they are completely different cars running to completely different regulations.”
Ford’s test in Sweden follows on from a four-day session on gravel roads in Portugal earlier this month. The team is not due to test again until later in January when it returns to Sweden to complete its final preparations for Rally Sweden, the opening round of the World Rally Championship, which is based in Karlstad from February 10-13.
Despite taking a break from testing for a few weeks, Loriaux said there would be no let up in the team’s workload ahead of the 2011 campaign.
“It’s going to be quite a rush because our aim is to get 10 cars ready for Sweden,” said Loriaux, “and there are still a few things we’d like to iron out on the car. We’ve also got the homologation inspection coming up so we’re quite busy with that and preparing for the next test in Sweden.”
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