Ford technical director Christian Loriaux has urged Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala to push as hard as ever on tomorrow's second day of Rally Germany in an effort to demonstrate the Fiesta RS WRC's potential on asphalt.
Hirvonen is running third overnight, but the Finn is more than a minute behind leader Sebastien Loeb after being caught on the wrong tires in the rain on SS2 and then clattering a wall on the fourth stage. Latvala led the event after the opening stage but dropped time with a puncture on SS3 and an engine problem through the afternoon.
The problem with Latvala's car is thought to be related to the engine's fuel injection system. He ended day one six minutes down on the leader.
"This has been a dreadful day," said Loriaux. "OK, SS1 was good, but after that it's been dreadful. Tomorrow, I would like to see some of that Finnish 'sisu' [inner steel]. Let's see the spirit and see some fastest stage times.
"Both the Citroens are going to be pushing hard. OK, [Sebastien] Ogier will get his team orders, but he'll ignore them and they will fight – fastest stage times against them tomorrow would show what the car can do."
While Loriaux admitted the car had shown flashes of its potential on its asphalt debut, he refused to get carried away with Latvala's fastest time.
"We have to remember we had one spare tire, they [Citroen] had two," said Loriaux, "and we were on the right [compound of] tires and they weren't. We need to show more tomorrow."
Rally leader Loeb said he was not surprised at Latvala's time on the opener.
"With the tires we had [a mixture of hard and soft], I thought that we would have been farther behind the Fords than we were," said Loeb.