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The Pirtek Rally Team has finished its third-straight event completing the Rally of South Australia in the Adelaide Hills.

The Ford Focus team expected to set quick times on the fast and flowing roads. Although this was the case, the competition also stepped up to the mark.

With by far the strongest field of any NEC Australian Rally Championship round, the Pirtek Rally Team of Michael Guest and David Green set times that were around two seconds per kilometre on average with the top-five crews.

At most rounds this would have had them well inside the top-10, but with the stronger field this placed the team a little further down the order.

Leg #1 brought 18th place outright, although this did include a 50-second time penalty for leaving service late when the crew had to change an exhaust manifold header. Without the penalty the Focus would have finished 16th.

Leg #2 was a far better run with 12th place overall.

The team debuted a new motor for the rear-wheel-drive Focus this weekend that provided extra power. Suspension improvements also gave the Focus better drive and softer Hankook tyres improved grip levels.

The crew adjusted the car throughout the weekend to improve the overall package on the fast stages.

"I was really looking forward to a top result this weekend, but clearly the competition was on it," said Guest.

"I drove the car as fast as I could. We were pleased on the really fast stages, but on the twisty sections and the forestry complex stages we were up against it.

"The extra power felt really good, but we had to change the exhaust manifold header in leg#1 and the replacement dropped our engine power. We repaired the original and put that back on for leg #2 and my confidence was back again.

"In the last service the boys found a crack in one of the rear shock absorbers and they changed it as well as the other one in the rear. Unfortunately they weren't quite the same as the ones we pulled out and it was a bit of a handful to the end.

"We are now looking forward to the final ARC round in Melbourne. It's Ford's hometown and it's an event that's been pretty good to me in the past. They are real driver's stages and I'm confident in having a good package including a strong tyre option from Hankook."

Pirtek Rally Team Technical Director Steve Hoinville called the weekend a learning exercise.

"We really didn't have too many problems, but we just didn't have the run we had hoped," said Hoinville.

"The boys were pretty proud of not having incurred any time penalties in the last two events, so to take 50-seconds on the Saturday was a little disappointing.

"In saying that I was very pleased with the boys work in the service park. They identified the cracked shock and we changed both of them in less than 10 minutes.

"The best part of the weekend was late Saturday and early Sunday when we had the car working pretty well.

"The Hankook tyres were very good this weekend. We are really starting to get the best out of the Hankooks and going home to Melbourne we are even more confident in getting better use of the rubber.

"We finally go to an event we know very well. We test extensively in Melbourne and have used some roads in the Rally of Melbourne area. Although it's not exactly the same rods, the surface and the style of stages are similar.

"We will make some improvements on the Focus and I'm sure we can expect a strong run in our own backyard".

The NGK Rally of Melbourne will be run from 23-24 September.
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