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Richie Dalton’s Shamrock Motorsport team have had a successful first test of their new Ford Fiesta.

Richie Dalton's first test in his new Ford Fiesta was a success.The car was initially set to make its debut in the New Zealand Rally Championship at the Otago Rally in April, but major wiring problems saw that delayed by several months.

Last weekend, the Sydney-based Irishman got his first chance to get behind the wheel of the car, and came away happy with progress so far.

“We went for its first shakedown last Saturday, and things went generally well,” Dalton told RallySport Mag.

“The car has got huge potential, and the suspension and ride of the car felt really good. It has great feedback from steering input.

“We still need to work a bit more on gear timing for the paddle shift, and more time with diff map settings and what works for me.

“We did have an engine issue where the car threw out a lot of blue smoke and oil went up through the head and on top of the pistons, which was worrying, but luckily enough no damage was done.”

The problem was traced to the billet block being machined for dry, rather than wet sump, which has now been rectified and the car goes back on the dyno on Monday, before further testing next week.

“All signs are very positive at this stage,” Dalton added.

“It's going to take a while to get used to it and learn the characteristics of the car. It has a huge 670nm of torque, and currently weighs 1330kg with two spares in the back, which is 230kg lighter than my old Evo 9.

“We need to add 20kg to bring it up to the minimum weight of 1350kg for the NZRC.”

Dalton has entered the Narooma Rally on July 22, and this will be the only real proper competitive test before the car leaves for Auckland in early August.

“We will use the last three rounds of the NZRC to get up to speed and learn the nature of those awesome NZ roads, before returning next year,” he said.

- Peter Whitten

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