It looks increasingly doubtful that Peugeot or Citroen's R5 cars will be ready in time for the start of the 2014 season.
Both manufacturers had intended to have the 208 T16 and DS3 R5 homologated on January 1 in time for customers to start the Monte Carlo Rally later that month. It now appears that will not be the case. Both are still busy testing their cars, with Peugeot electing not to run as zero car in Sanremo last week to focus more time on private running instead.
Peugeot's Bruno Famin said: "Our philosophy is it's always better to be a little bit late with a good car than to be on time with a bad car. OK, we are very conscious that we are losing some sales but with the time on the life of the car it will be not very significant. If you put on the market a bad car, the reputation is dead and it's finished. But I am 100 percent sure the 208 T16 is everything except a bad car because I am optimistic about the level of performance we can reach with the 208 T16 compared to the competitors."
Famin confirmed a homologation date of March 1 at the latest for the 208 T16.
Citroen's Yves Matton denied his team was behind, but he added that the timing was precarious.
"At the moment we are still on [target], but if something happens in the next month then we can be [delayed]," he said. "We are still testing solutions and changing things and improving the car. I will not homologate this car until it is at least at the level of the other car, at the level of the Ford. This is a commercial thing, but it's also our image."
In the meantime, M-Sport continues to sell Fiesta R5s as quickly as it can make them, with more than 40 cars shipped.