by Rob Wilkins.
BP Ford team leader, Marcus Gronholm is the only driver that has really come anywhere near Sebastien Loeb this season. Indeed other than the Frenchman, the Ford ace is the only one that has managed to win a round of the WRC, taking three victories, the most recent at the last event in Greece.
Here the Finn speaks exclusively to Crash.net Radio
about his season to date and the events coming up in August in Germany and Finland...
Marcus, I think it is fair to say you have enjoyed a pretty good season to date since joining the BP Ford team. Yes, you have had a few ups and downs, but overall you must be delighted to be back up there and right in contention for rally wins at virtually every event?
Yeah I am happy because I have a really competitive and winning car again - and the whole package is good. So I am happy with the situation. Of course I am not 100 per cent happy, because Sebastien is so far in front in the points - but otherwise it has been a good.
As you say, despite your form and that of Ford, Sebastien has managed to pull out a 29-point advantage. What is Ford doing at the moment to give you the best possible chance of coming back at him in the second half of the season?
Yeah everybody is working hard in Ford and for sure with reliability they are working and so it looks quite good now. But I need help from Sebastien if I want to win the championship because it is difficult to catch him with such a big gap.
The Focus you are using this year is obviously very different to the Peugeot 307. How difficult or easy has it been to adapt to the Ford?
I don't want to really compare these two cars. I had my good years with Peugeot. But OK, it [the Focus] is a completely different car and this one is maybe a bit easier to drive and so that makes the difference.
The WRC is in the midst of the long summer break, what tests do the team have planned?
For the moment we have a Germany test coming up and then also a Finnish test for the Neste Rally Finland. There is one development test as well - so three tests before the next rally.