A young rising star of Australian rallying has become the first driver to commit to the upcoming Ford Fiesta Sport Trophy in the  Australian Rally Championship, campaigning an R2 spec Ford Fiesta.
 
The rally prepared Fiesta R2 is currently en route from Europe bound for Melbourne and the final round of the 2012 Bosch Australian Rally Championship, where it will make its local debut in the hands of Tasmanian young gun, Stephen Turner.
 
Turner recently returned to Australia following his international rally debut at round five of the British Rally Championship, the Todds Leap Rally in Northern Ireland on 17-18th August and is now awaiting the arrival of the Fiesta ahead of November's final ARC round, Rally Victoria.
 
Turner finished ninth in class in the British rally, despite having never driven the car and with no knowledge or experience of the Northern Irish roads.
 
It is a major step up for the 26 year old who previously campaigned an ageing Ford Falcon in the Bosch ARC's Rallyschool Australian Junior Challenge where he qualified for last year's final in Coffs Harbour.
 
"The Fiesta is a quick reliable car and great value for money, It was the safest option for a competitive, ready to rally car and has the bonus of support from R Sport in Australia which is the new distributor for Fiesta rally kits and components from MSport in Europe," he added.
 
"We had great support from John McKillop Motorsport and Phil Coppin at RSport as well as the M Sport team in Europe.
"Some local companies over in Britain also helped us out for which we are very grateful but we need to get some extra Australian support for next year."
 
According to Scott Pedder, CEO of the Bosch Australian Rally Championship, Turner's Fiesta is just one of the exciting new entries for the 2013 Bosch ARC.
 
"Obviously the recent commitment by Ford to the Australian Rally Championship via RSport and the proposed Fiesta Trophy is going to engender enormous interest in the Fiesta as a strong privateers car that is cost effective and provides rally winning capabilities," said Scott Pedder.
 
"Welsh driver Elfyn Evans has proved the R2 Fiesta is a car capable of winning Championships in the British Rally Championship where he is currently leading the pointscore and there is no reason why a fast young driver couldn't give the factory teams some hurry up in Australia," he said.
 
"The 2013 championship is shaping up to be the most exciting and diverse championship ever, and the two wheel drive formula is being embraced throughout the rally community.
 
"Stephen Turner's Fiesta, as well as a number of other new Fiestas being planned by other competitors and the R3 spec Peugeot 207 being imported by FSport are just some of the exciting new cars that will feature in the 2013 ARC."
 
'In the coming weeks we also expect to announce the participation of a number of other manufacturer backed teams with exciting new generation cars for next year's ARC," Pedder added
 
Turner is excited about the new generation R2 Fiesta and its potential in the Australian Championship after campaigning the big Falcon.
"Everything about the Fiesta is better than the Falcon and really the two cars aren't even comparable!" said Stephen Turner.
 
"There is a massive weight difference while the Fiesta stops and turns so much better than the Falcon ever did," he said.
 
"It was difficult to get used to the left hand drive Fiesta after steering the right hand drive Falcon and but we were going quite well by the end of the rally.
 
"It's a really great package. It handles well and its great to drive."
 
Turner is looking forward to bringing the car to Australia for Rally Victoria on the 16-17 November and seeing how the R2 spec Fiesta performs against the latest Australian G2 specification cars .
 
"It was ready to race when it left Europe so fingers crossed we can have it at Rally Vic in time and ready to go," Turner said.
 
"It's hard to say how we'll go against the G2 cars, but we'll find out in November, we'll just turn up and see what happens."
 
The Hobart-based driver hopes to run the entire Bosch ARC in 2013 taking on the G2 spec Honda Jazz and Mazda2 for the outright championship but admits he is still chasing some financial support to ensure he can tackle the entire 2013 championship and the Fiesta Sport Trophy.
 
"We want to do the full championship and are looking for some people to come on board and support us," said Stephen.
 
The Fiesta Sport Trophy is expected to be announced shortly and will be run in conjunction with selected rounds of the 2013 Australian Rally Championship.
 
The FST will see Fiesta drivers fighting it out for an opportunity to represent Australia at the International FST Shootout in the UK late next year. In the past the winner has received a 12-month contract to work for M-Sport alongside some of the world's best rally driver like Jari-Matti Latvala and Petter Solberg. Australia will be the 13th country to initiate this highly-successful one-make rally series.
 
Full details on the Ford Fiesta R1 and R2 kits and program are available by contacting Phil Coppin on 0400 795686 or info@rsport.net.au.
 
More than 2 million Australians will see the Bosch ARC on TV in 2012 and the series will generate more than 40 hours of national television across the Ten/One HD network - a media equivalency value exceeding $12 million.
 
 The Bosch Australian Rally Championship also receives support from multi-national fuel and lubricant giant BP as the primary fuel supplier and for the third year Korean tyre giant Kumho as the exclusive tyre supplier for the championship. Other commercial partners include East Coast Bullbars, Honda, rallyschool.com.au, Polaris, CanAm, Snake Racing and CAMS.

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