22 Jul 08
Do you have any significant technical developments planned for your car between now and the end of the year?
In Germany we'll launch an evolution of the car which will be fitted with a lot of new parts we've been testing over the summer. Most of the changes are related to engine and transmission parts, but we've also been concentrating on making improvements to the weight distribution and centre of gravity.
How have you got on with the new soft compound Pirelli gravel tyre?
I haven't heard any specific feedback from our drivers - good or bad - but I'm not worried. I think everybody has accepted now that Pirelli have done a good job running the one make tyre and I'm confident the soft tyre will be fine.
There are three asphalt rallies in the second half of the year. Do you think your car and drivers will give you an advantage on this surface?
It's been such a long time since anybody other than Sebastien Loeb won a tarmac rally that we realise we have tough challenge ahead. But Mikko and Jari-Matti are extremely determined to do well and they've both been getting specific tuition on asphalt. We know that's one area we need to improve on. We're pretty confident from a car point of view, but we need the drivers to get a bit more experience on asphalt rallies.
What is your objective for the 2008 season now? Has this changed from January?
Our objective for the year is still to get the manufacturers' championship for Ford and the drivers' title for Mikko. We didn't expect to be leading both at the midpoint, but obviously we'll take it.
Can you make a prediction - anything at all - about the second half of the WRC season?
I feel very confident that our drivers are going to be stronger than they've been so far. Of course, they'll need to be if we're to retain the lead, but I really believe the summer break has come at the right time - it's given us time to recap and get refocused for the second half of the season. There's no reason why we can't win all the remaining gravel rallies. We did that last year with Mikko or Marcus.
What is the latest news regarding Ford Manufacturer Teams for 2009?
We're not in a position at the minute to say exactly what we're doing, but we certainly hope we can still run two manufacturer teams like we've done this year. I'd like to get another in there too if possible.
Can you give me a podium prediction for Finland?
As long as there are two Fords in first and second that's all I'm concerned about. I think Jari-Matti will be very quick, but if you look back last year Mikko was very close to Marcus. I think that was the point at which Marcus decided to retire; when he felt Mikko was a little too close for comfort for him to have another season. This year, in theory, I think Mikko should be just ahead of Jari-Matti, purely because of the amount of experience he has on the rally and his performance on the last couple of years.