Mission accomplished for Ford in France
“We know what direction we need to go in”
Ford technical chief Christian Loriaux has said the team achieved all that it set out to do during its four-day asphalt test in France last week.
Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala spent two days each testing Ford’s all-black Fiesta RS WRC to prepare for the sealed-surface rounds in Germany, France and Spain later this season.
The test marked the first major running on asphalt for Loriaux’s creation, which won on its debut in Sweden back in February.
“We wanted to find out what the obvious problems could be and also do some set-up work,” Loriaux told Wrc.com. “The road we used for the first day was not so good but the road we found for the next three days was very good. We had very warm weather and some rain so we had a lot of variation, which was good for the set-up.”
Loriaux said some areas for improvement had been identified but added that he would not be drawn on specifics.
“There are a few things we can improve on, which was always going to be the plan,” he said. “The drivers were pleased because there were no big surprises and we know what direction we need to go in in terms of the springs and roll bars, things like that.”
Ford was using its all-new strengthened transmission during the test, which Loriaux reported had run faultlessly.
“We did a lot of standing starts on Tarmac with no problems or dramas,” said the Belgian.
Next on Ford’s schedule is a pre-event test for Neste Oil Rally Finland, which is due to take place in two weeks time.
The Abu Dhabi-backed squad is currently 55 points behind Citroen in the race for the manufacturers’ crown. Hirvonen is second in the drivers’ standings, 17 points adrift of title leader Sebastien Loeb. Latvala is fourth, 70 points off the pace.
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