Heh, I'm reminded a little of my first autocross.
I'll second most of what was already said here -
Walking the course is key. An easy course, I'll walk 3 times, minimum. A tougher course, with weird transitions or overlap points, I'll walk 4 times at least. One real test of this is that, after you've walked the course sufficiently, you SHOULD be able to close your eyes, put your hands at 10-and-2 in the air, and "steer" thru the course. If you can do that by memory, nothing in the course can screw you up too badly. I can't always get it down that well before gametime though.
Working the morning shift, I find, helps a lot. I can see where other people are getting lost, or scrubbing speed, or taking too tight a line, etc. I always volunteer to pick cones too. I'm not neeeeearly good enough a driver yet to ignore the other drivers.
40/45 isnt a bad pressure split. Street tires behave strangely to tire pressures; one car might oversteer uncontrollably with this setup, where another will understeer so bad it won't be able to turn. I find the Focus (the SVT at least) steers best running more air in the fronts. Also, you may eventually notice that the car behaves differently depending on how its driven. If I hamfist the car around the course, with harsh inputs, I tend to understeer badly. My best guess is the Eagle F1s on the car are too squishy to take the forces at the contact patch at too quick a rate, and the squishy sidewall goes all flubby. If I can plan the inputs ahead of time and execute smoother, and tail tends to play more, and the front sticks better.
With street tires, there seems to be a point to which more air will help your grip situation, until the carcass starts to round out too much, and grip drops back off again. But suspension set ups, input rates, camber and toe gain, tire sidewall construction, and the current phase of the moon ALL seem to affect this, so nothing is holy. The best way to be fast is to figure out what the car's doing and drive around that problem, rather than reinvent the wheel trying to change the setup.
Smoothness is key.
Slow is fast.
Check your tire pressures.
Watch out for Minis.
Stay on 16, unless the dealer has a weak showing.
2004 SVT Focus
Custom front-bumper-mount bug guts; precision sprayed brake dust on OEM rims; 15% Pine Tree pollen over the clear coat.
No more SVT autocross, I drive the thing in the avatar.