18 Jun 08
According to Lapworth, running the WRC2008 on the Greek and Turkish rounds of the series had highlighted some 'typical new car problems' which could be fixed in time for the Finland pre-event test, where the priority would shift to increasing the speed of the car.
"No matter how much you test, you always re-start the learning curve when you get onto the rallies, and we've discovered some useful things in Turkey and Greece,' he said. "We're not so worried about strength and durability now; we've learned what we need to on these past two rallies. I think we're on schedule now to work only on improving the performance of the car over the summer break. And if things go well I don't see why we can't make like difficult for Ford and Citroen in Finland."
As well as the experience and data gathered on the last two rallies, the team hopes more information will be revealed during a thorough analysis of the cars. "The two cars have both done two rallies each now, and when we pull them apart we're bound to find a few more things," said Howarth. "We'll strip them right down, measure things and inspect all the components. I'm sure the process will tell us a lot."
After that, the team has eight days of testing planned; four in Finland and another four in preparation for the three asphalt events in the second half of the season.
"The regulations restrict the amount of testing we can do, but our main priority for the Finland test is to find the best chassis balance for the new soft-compound Pirelli tyre we'll be using there," said Howarth. "If we're lucky with the weather, then four days should enable us to take another big step forward."