BP Ford team director Malcolm Wilson has said that while the new Focus RS WRC 07 might not look very different from the outside, it is underneath where most of the changes have been made.

Speaking ahead of the cars debut in the FIA World Rally Championship, which will take place in less than two weeks time, when the season half of the season gets underway with the Rally Finland, the M-Sport man added that both Marcus Gronholm and Mikko Hirvonen have been very pleased with the upgrades.

"Both Marcus and Mikko have completed plenty of kilometres in testing and they are encouraged," he confirmed. "Our designers and engineers have worked extremely hard behind the scenes and they are pleased with the car.

"There are few visible modifications on the outside but it is underneath the skin where most of the changes are found and I'm looking forward to seeing the rewards in Finland and beyond."

BP Ford technical director, Christian Loriaux meanwhile, who was the man in charge of developing the latest car, added that while a lot of development has taken place, principally concentrating on the engine, bodyshell and weight saving, it is an evolution of the 2006 car, not a completely new machine.

"It is important not to think of the Focus RS WRC 07 as a new car in the same way that the 2003 or 2006 models were," he explained. "This is an evolution of the car that won the 2006 manufacturers' world title and which has taken BP-Ford into such a strong position in the 2007 championship.

"Much of our thinking has concentrated on weight, and the modifications we have introduced save almost 20kg. This allows us to position ballast in the areas where we want to distribute the weight to maximise the handling and balance of the car."

Jost Capito, director of Ford TeamRS, is confident though that the new car will be a boost and one that should help 'strengthen' their challenge during the second half of the season, as they looks to hold off Citroen and maintain their advantage in both the race for the manufacturers' and drivers' titles.

"The opening half of the season has been successful for us," he continued. "The 2006 car won 12 of the 25 rallies it started, which is a remarkable strike rate, and one that we would like to emulate with the new car during the second part of the season."

"We're confident that the 2007 Focus RS WRC will bring improvements in several key areas. The regulations mean it is impossible to find huge leaps forward when our car is already so technologically advanced. But any performance improvements are always a welcome boost and I believe that Christian and his team have introduced developments that will strengthen our challenge during the final eight rallies of the championship," he summed-up.

 

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