Ford could fit a more powerful engine to its Focus RS 04 WRC on next weekend’s Rally of Turkey, but the manufacturer’s future involvement in the sport remains in the balance.

Ford could fit a more powerful engine to its Focus RS 04 WRC on next weekend’s Rally of Turkey, but the manufacturer’s future involvement in the sport remains in the balance.


The performance of the Focus RS 04’s current engine at low speeds has been criticised by the team’s lead driver Markko Martin, but Ford works team M-Sport has pledged to improve the powerplant for Turkey and now looks set to meet that target if a test in the Kielder Forest this week shows an improvement in pace.


“We do know that the engine has not been where we wanted it recently, but we hope to have a bit more performance in Turkey,” said M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson, who is pushing ahead with plans to develop the next evolution of the Focus WRC, despite not having received a decision as to whether Ford will stay in the WRC.


Ford only decided at the last-minute to enter the 2004 championship, but a strong start to this season and better financial results for the Ford group could make an earlier decision for 2005 more likely – this is still not expected, though, until July at the earliest and could be as late as the end of September.


M-Sport has to commit to its plans early, Wilson said, as new technical regulations scheduled to come into effect for 2005 will allow teams with longer cars to use a wider wheelbase of 1 800mm to try and equalise performance with smaller cars. It is also keen for a long-term commitment from Ford in a bid to accommodate the development of a new Focus WRC when the road-going version is heavily revised in 2006, reported.