Q&A: Christian Loriaux (Ford) - EXCLUSIVE.

No not at all because the car is very similar to the previous ones – but just easier to drive. We knew what direction we wanted to improve it and we did and so there was no need for adaptation for them.

The Focus RS WRC is developed in-house, but is there anything that is out-sourced and brought in, maybe the dampers and so on?

For sure we do work in very close collaboration with some suppliers - and the dampers are a good example. We work with a company called Reiger, which is based in Holland. We have been working with them for the best part of 8-9 years. They do all the dampers and send them over to us. They are like a branch of our company but they are not – they are completely independent. But we are like friends and we work closely.

The same with the engine - the engine development is done by a French company. They are very competent people as well and they have had a few titles – world rally championship titles. They are another very important supplier to us.

There is BF Goodrich, our tyres suppliers too, who supply us with very good and competitive tyres. There are many parts of the puzzle. The same can be said for the transmission - which is designed mainly by us – but which is supplied by Ricardo Motorsport, in Leamington Spa in the Midlands.

Like I say, a lot of people are involved and obviously we have got a very close working relationship with the main Ford factory in Dunton. They support us with engineering requests and parts and supply and so on. There are a lot of people involved.

What have been the main technical challenges this year?

This year we had to start using one engine for three rallies for cost saving. That was a good challenge. We have tried to use the gearbox a bit more as well. We have got two sets of transmissions per car for two rallies - and obviously we get new rallies coming into the championship.

For example Rally Ireland next month is a big, big challenge. It is a completely new rally for the world championship with very specific settings because the roads are very narrow, very fast and bumpy. Rally Ireland is actually probably the biggest engineering challenge of the season for us. It will be interesting to see how it goes.

Has it been a good year for tech in the WRC?

Difficult to say - today none of them are good years technology wise and there is an economy of crisis. It is hard for all the manufacturers and there motorsport budgets are smaller and in view of that, the FIA, the organising body, are trying to reduce costs. We are limiting the technology more and more every day and it is quite restricted because of cost implications.

What do you think of Super 2000 cars? How good are they?

I think they will be pretty slow and pretty boring to watch. In a way I can see that they could reduce the costs a bit – maybe. But the cost of the car I think is not a big factor in the overall cost of the championship. I am worried that they will be less spectacular and slower and will detract people from rallying rather than attract people.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Marcus Gronholm and Christian Loriaux  [Pic credit: Ford/worldrallypics.com]
BP Ford WRT technical director Christian Loriaux with BP Ford WRT boss, Malcolm Wilson [Pic credit: BP Ford WRT]
Christian Loriaux (FRA), Chief Engineer, BP Ford World Rally Team. Acropolis Rally of Greece, 31st May - 3rd June 2007.
Hayden Paddon (NZ), Hyundai Motorsport [Credit: Haydn Paddon Rallysport Global]
Sebastien Ogier, Volkswagen Motorsport, [Credit: Volkswagen Motorsport]
Thierry Neuville (BEL), Hyundai Motorsport [Credit: Hyundai Motorsport]
Skoda Fabia R 5 (CZE), Skoda motorsport [Credit: Skoda motorsport]
Meeke, Breen, Circuit of Ireland Rally [Credit: Circuit of Ireland Rally]
Kris Meeke [Credit: Crash.net]
Kris Meeke [Credit: Crash.net]
Tanner Foust [Credit: FIA World Rallycross]
RX: Foust [Credit: FIA World Rallycross]
Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm test the new Fabia R5 [Pic credit: Skoda]
Jan Kopecky / Pavel Dresler test the new Fabia R5 in Italy [Pic credit: Skoda]
Kevin Abbring / Seb Marshall. Hyundai Motorsport N. i20 WRC. Rally Sweden [Pic credit: Hyundai]
Kevin Abbring / Seb Marshall. Hyundai Motorsport N. i20 WRC. Rally Sweden [Pic credit: Hyundai]
Kevin Abbring / Seb Marshall. Hyundai Motorsport N. i20 WRC. Rally Sweden [Pic credit: Hyundai]

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