Ford technical director Christian Loriaux says he has no fears for the Focus RS WRC 09, following a debrief into the car's inability to keep pace with the Citroen C4 WRC on the recent Rally Mexico.
Loriaux said the team had looked at all of the data from the factory cars, which finished fourth (Mikko Hirvonen) and fifth (Jari-Matti Latvala) behind a Citroen top-three on the second round of the World Rally Championship, and he said the reasons for the disappointing result was three-fold.
"The first reason," said Loriaux, "is that we have never gone particularly well in Mexico, while Sebastien Loeb and Petter Solberg have done. The next reason is that [Dani] Sordo and [Sebastien] Ogier clearly were going well on the event.
"People can look back at 2008 and say, 'Ah, but what about Jari-Matti Latvala, he was fastest on loads of stages on the first day,' but the difference is that Jari-Matti was a madman while he was doing those times. He would have done five fastest times then crashed. He's a different driver now and he did a fantastic job in Mexico for us. In fact, it was Sordo who went fast this time and then crashed.
"The third reason for this result was the road cleaning on the first day – and Mikko then being demoralized on the second day. The difference between being first on the road and second was actually quite massive. Look at Petter and Ogier on the first day, their times were close all day – but then when Petter was first on the road on Saturday and Ogier was second, the difference between them was much bigger."
The Ford team has been testing the Focus RS WRC 09 in Sardinia this weekend ahead of next week's Rally of Turkey. Loriaux admitted given the homologation restrictions, there would be no significant changes made to the car for the third WRC round.
"There's very little we can do," he said. "But I'm not concerned. We have to remember Petter had two days of testing in Mexico, we don't know how much he was able to tune his engine for the altitude – and if he did tune it, did he share that with the Citroen team? We don't know.
"But Petter's able to test out of Europe, which is not something the factory teams can do. And, let's face it, we won in Sweden and it's not like our car's gone from being a winner to being completely crap in one rally."