M-Sport Ford Team Principal Richard Millener says the team have tried to make up for their result on Rally Argentina last season ahead of the 2019 event next weekend.
Last year saw the Cumbrian team finish off the podium in South America, with Sébastien Ogier the best of the team’s finishers in fourth, but Millener is adamant that they have taken every step to improve their pace going into round five of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship.
Millener said on the teams hopes in Argentina: “Having proven our potential pace and strength, we’re all looking forward to seeing what we can do at Rally Argentina. With two podiums on the bounce, we’re keen to make it three and that’s what we’ll be aiming for next week.”
“Admittedly we weren’t particularly strong here last year, but we have been working hard to rectify that. Our designers and engineers never stop working and just last week we completed a two-day development test in Greystoke forest.”
He added: “We won’t see everything we tested on the cars just yet, but the session also provided an opportunity to test and confirm various gravel set-ups as well as getting Elfyn and Teemu back into the rhythm of loose-surface rallying.”
“Argentina is a pretty special place for Elfyn and his performance in Corsica shows that he can take the fight to the three main championship contenders. Teemu has only driven a world rally car here once before, but that didn’t stop him showing his speed in Sweden and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some strong times from him next week.”
2019 sees for the first time a South American double header for the championship with a new event, Rally Chile, taking place two weeks later and Millener commented on the challenges facing the team preparing for both events: “This will also be the first in a South American double-header which requires a lot of extra preparation from the team. We’re limited as to what we can use at the following round in Chile –same chassis, engine, transmission and some dampers for example – and we’re not returning to Europe so will complete a full re-prep of the cars in Argentina after the rally.”
“Every eventuality has had to be considered and our guys have been working hard to ensure that’s the case. We’re pretty sure we’re got everything covered, but this will be a new experience for all of us and I’m sure there’ll be one or two challenges along the way!”
Round five of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship takes place in Argentina next weekend.