Czech-based rally team Jolly Club will test its Ford Focus WRC on gravel roads in Chateau de Lastours, the well-known testing venue in southern France, prior to heading for the Acropolis Rally with Roman Kresta.

The change in plans was announced by Jolly Club's president, Roman Vaskuj, after the chance to follow the works Ford team to Chateau de Lastours arose as the Czech outfit planned to leave early for Greece - and some much-needed rough terrain testing.

"Because we have this wonderful opportunity to test the Focus in the same conditions where the Ford's factory team had been testing some days ago, we would like to use this test to our advantage," Vaskuj explained, "Not only will we have a chance to compare with the official Ford M-Sport, but this location is also used by both French teams of Citroen and Peugeot."

Jolly Club's team left the Czech Republic on Monday in order to arrive at its target destination in France this evening [Tuesday]. Its engineers and mechanics will then prepare for the two days of testing scheduled to take place on Wednesday and Thursday.

"Roman Kresta will be able to set the gravel spec of the Focus up to his liking in very similar conditions to those that we can expect in hot Greece," Vaskuj pointed out, "Our team will have invaluable support from the local Ford dealer, whose personnel have plenty of experience with support from the marque's factory team. We will be testing on the same roads and sections as the Ford's works drivers. Apart from tuning the car's electronics of the engine and differentials, we will also be trying out a variety of gravel tires. We would like Kresta to be able to choose what he likes best. "

According to the team's plans, there will be Pirelli tyres provided by Ford's official WRC tyre partner Michelin, as well as special rubber compounds by Matador, the Slovakian tyre brand, whose two tyre specialists will also accompany the team to France and Greece. It has been agreed that Jolly Club will participate in Matador's asphalt and gravel tyre development programs over the next few years.

Driver Roman Kresta is currently returning from the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, where he completed the Cyprus Rally reconnaissance during the first half of the week, working as Skoda Motorsport's connection between the team and its two gravel crews.

"After the test in France, our team will leave for Venice, Italy, where it will board a large ferry ship to take the car and team directly to Greece," Vaskuj revealed, "There, Kresta will have another opportunity to briefly confirm the set-up of the Focus prior to the shakedown. Then the real action will begin."