Ford's Malcolm Wilson says there is more performance to come from the Fiesta RS WRC, but the drivers will have to wait until Rally d'Italia before they feel the real benefit of the tweaks.
The homologation on the engines for the all-new World Rally Cars will be set at the end of April, and Wilson says the Cumbrian-based team will be working flat-out on the 1.6-liter motor up until the deadline.
After completing a one-two-three result on the opening round of the World Rally Championship in Sweden, Ford was left trailing the Citroens in Mexico last week. Wilson is not concerned by the result in Central America, where Sweden winner Mikko Hirvonen finished second to Sebastien Loeb by 1m38sec.
"Obviously, we were hit quite hard on the opening day where Mikko was first on the road," said Wilson, "and Jari [-Matti Latvala] got his puncture. After that, we decided that our strategy would be to bring the cars home and gather as many points as possible – taking second and third places with the factory cars, we've certainly done that."
Hirvonen and Ford both extended their leads in their respective championships, but Wilson remains mindful of the need to stay on top of the car's performance.
"We have got more coming on the engine side," he said. "We're working on the efficiency of the engine, mainly in the area of the direct injection. There will be refinements, but these will come in time for the homologation in May.
"It's impossible to say what sort of power or torque increases we could be looking at, but certainly the engine will be refined for May."
Wilson added that he felt Ford's pre-Mexico test had hampered the Finns on round two.
"We had scarcely any dry running on gravel," said Wilson. "I know that Citroen had some wet days when they were testing on gravel as well, but the wet weather was certainly something which made it difficult for us to get the setup right for Mexico. We've got more testing planned, hopefully in warmer weather – and that's going to get us ready for Portugal."
Rally Portugal, round three of the WRC, starts in just over two weeks' time.
Wilson is also confident of conquering the electrical issues which forced non-factory Fiesta driver Ken Block to stop three times (retiring twice) and Matthew Wilson into retirement before the end of the first full day.