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Ford happy with Fiesta's early pace

Jari-Matti Latvala, Ford, Portugal 2011Ford technical director Christian Loriaux says he is happy with the early performance from his Fiesta RS WRC is showing in the World Rally Championship - but he added there was work to do before the team could iron out the few gremlins which had struck the new car.

Both Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala were left in three-wheel drive at some stage of the Faro-based event, but Loriaux says the issues have been addressed ahead of next week's Jordan Rally.

"You always have a few skeletons in the cupboard," said Loriaux. "We have got one or two issues [with the car] and one of those in Portugal was the driveshaft boot. We've known about this and we've been working on something for a while. To be honest, it's a little bit of a concern, but we will get it sorted."

The shaft failure on Latvala's car was the primary cause for concern. It came after an impact from a stone burst the driveshaft boot, allowing the grease to escape before the joint broke.

"We've been working on stronger rubbers and things like that," said Loriaux, "but now I think we'll use some more protection. It's a difficult one, the sort of thing where you do thousands of kilometres in testing and never break one and then you might do [break] four of them in 10 kilometres; you just can't say where the stone is going to hit. But, on this one, the engineering side has let the team down and we have to fix it."

Loriaux said the problem on Hirvonen's car was less of a concern.

"It [the driveshaft] just fell off," said Loriaux. "We had made some changes to the way we fit the shafts for Portugal and it's not easy to fit them. The guys thought it was in but there was a problem with the circlip, this is not a problem at all. The one thing it highlights though is that if you rush something through to get it ready for an event, it can come back and bite you."

Ford will have another improvement on the engine for Jordan, which had been scheduled for Portugal. "It will be a small improvement in time for the next round.

"To be honest, I'm pretty happy with where we are with the car. We've had some issues and Citroen has had some issues, I'd say we're pretty much equal. We had good performance in Portugal and we could have won the rally even though we were running first on the road."

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