Citroën's Sébastien Loeb and Peugeot's Harri Rovanpera may have experience of the Mexican Rally, but Ford's Markko Martin says they won't have a decisive advantage in next week's event.

Citroën's Sébastien Loeb and Peugeot's Harri Rovanpera may have experience of the Mexican Rally, but Ford's Markko Martin says they won't have a decisive advantage in next week's event.


World championship leader Loeb practised the route last year, while Rovanpera won the event in 2002, driving a Peugeot 206 WRC. However, a number of stages have been changed since then and many have been reversed since last year.


"Sebastien has an advantage, but Harri has more of an advantage: he has done the rally and he is running behind," Martin commented, drawing attention to Rovanpera's low starting position. Running further back in the first leg should aid the Finn's chances, as conditions are expected to be dry, which means that earlier cars are likely to sweep gravel clear for the pursuit, but Martin confessed that he didn't know quite what to expect.


"I don't know anything about it. I have heard it has reasonably smooth and fast stages. I am quite positive. It's nice to go to new places," Martin was quoted as saying.


Ford completed 1 200 km of development testing in Spain last week, largely on dirt. A number of new parts awaiting homologation were evaluated, including a new engine, and the Focus WRC 04 is said to have performed reliably.


"It's gone well in terms of mileage, but there's not much to say in terms of excitement," M-Sport Technical Director Christian Loriaux commented. Although some lightweight parts were used, the 2004 bodyshell is not yet complete.

Original article from Car