Challenging weekend for Pirtek Ford Rally Team
Pirtek Rally Team’s Michael Guest and David Green have finished seventh in the second heat of the Rally South Australia, round #4 of the NEC Australian Rally Championship.
In what proved a tough weekend for the Ford Fiesta Super 2000 team, Guest completed the opening leg in 20th place, while teammates Darren Windus and Jon Mortimer had their weekend end on stage #4 with engine dramas.
Guest set quick times, including second fastest on the longest stage of the event Eden High, but was hampered with clutch issues in leg #1, while a broken rear-suspension link in the middle of heat #2 took away any chance of a finish well inside the top 5.
"Encouraging and disappointing at the same time," said Guest.
"The Fiesta clearly has the speed, but when you are developing a car like we are it’s not a surprise to have some technical issues.
"Importantly we completed all but two short stages on the first day and that’s critical as we continue to develop this car.
"We really tried to take it to the opposition with the Fiesta topped-out at well over 180km/h throughout the event. I was especially pleased with our time on the longest stage of the event.
"Next up is my home rally at Forster on the New South Wales mid north coast, I’m looking forward to showing the true form of the Fiesta at that event."
Darren Windus was disappointed to have had his rally end early on Saturday morning.
"We had just set the third fastest time and the car was excellent," said Windus.
"The engine lost power and I shut it off straight away in the middle of the next stage.
"It’s disappointing as we could have been inline for a good result. All we can do is look ahead."
Pirtek Rally Team Chief Engineer Marcus Clarke has already started to prioritise the job list ahead of the next event.
"There is a lot to look at, but we are continually developing these cars and learning all the time," said Clarke.
"The engine in Darren’s car appears to have dropped a valve, but we’ll fully asses it when we are back in the workshop.
"The broken clutch for Michael was unfortunate, but in regards to the suspension issues we have already started to look at improving that design.
"The car is clearly a developing package, but we are sure that we are heading in the right direction."
The Great Lakes Rally outside Forster will be run on September 15-16.
Photo: Peter Whitten