Shamrock Motorsport's Richie Dalton goes into this weekend's Rally of Tasmania a little more under-prepared than he would like. The Australian Rally Championship frontrunner was hoping to get in a pre-event test in his Ford Fiesta Proto ahead of the rally, but work commitments soon put an end to that. Sydney based Dalton has also been struggling with a head cold, and says he's done "zero preparation" for the third round of the national series. "I've been super busy at work and haven't even had a chance to watch any on-board footage from last year's rally," he said. "As a result we'll be on the back foot this weekend, but changes to the car should mean that it's even more competitive than it was in the first two rounds of the series." Dalton's Fiesta has undergone a number of changes since it appeared in Canberra in April, including a change of engine tune, and set-up changes to the rear differential, suspension and anti-lag system. "We haven't had a lot of luck this year, but the problems we've encountered have been only small ones, so we certainly haven't been taking backward steps." Those problems included a fuel pressure sensor failure and a dead battery in Canberra. "Improving the car's handling through slow speed corners has been a focus since Canberra, and the crew are confident they've made some improvements. "While we'll be hoping for the best result possible, it will be my first time in Tassie and I'll have new pacenotes to write, and stages to learn," he added. He's not aiming for stage wins or a podium finish this weekend - although both would be welcomed - but Dalton and co-driver, Dale Moscatt, have proven already this season that when everything goes to plan, they are more than capable of finishing on the podium. "We're making small improvements with the car all the time, which gives me confidence to push a little harder when I can. "This event will be all about getting more comfortable in the car and building towards upcoming events in Batemans Bay, Ballarat, and at the season ending Rally Australia at Coffs Harbour in November." A week after Rally Tasmania, Dalton will head to Batemans Bay for an event he knows well, having won it last year in a Skoda Fabia. Rally Tasmania begins on Friday evening with a stage at Launceston Showgrounds, before Heat 1 resumes on Saturday morning with a further 10 stages outside Launceston. Sunday’s Heat 2 covers a further six stages, across 97.60 kilometres.
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