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Ford Australia are set to shock the rally fraternity next week by announcing that they will use the Fiesta as the base for their new Super 2000 rally car, and that Darren Windus will be the team's number two driver. Peter Whitten reports .....

 

Ford Australia are expected to announce their 2007 rally plans next week, as speculation continues to grow regarding the team’s expected two-car program in next year’s Australian Rally Championship.

RallySport Magazine understand that the team will use cars prepared by Britek in 2007, the team owned by V8 Supercar driver Jason Bright. A technical partnership with Britek is seen as being an important step for the blue oval.

However, even greater speculation centres around the car which Ford will use in 2007. This year the team ran a single 2.5 litre, normally aspirated Focus, which used a hybrid rear-wheel drive system. With Michael Guest at the wheel, the car sounded sensational, but most questioned the reasoning behind Ford’s decision to go the rear-wheel drive route.

The team will build a pair of normally aspirated, four-wheel drive cars under the Super 2000 rules in 2007, but recent reports suggest that the team will choose Fiestas as the base for the program, not the Focus, as originally thought.

Ford will introduce the 2-litre Fiesta XR4 to Australia next year, which would make the choice of the smaller car clearer. Nobody from Ford would make comment on the matter before next week’s official launch.

However, international rally journalist, Martin Holmes, told RallySport Magazine that Australia was the only place he had heard whispers about Ford building the Fiesta into a Super 2000 car. He was unsure whether the rumours had any substance.

Guest will again spearhead Ford’s program next year, and the choice of his team-mate is beginning to become clearer by the day.

It has been widely accepted that one of the country’s leading privateers will drive the second car. However, the two drivers who are arguably the country’s fastest privateers, Steve Glenney and Will Orders, both say they haven’t spoken to Ford about a drive in 2007.

RallySport Magazine believe that West Australian privateer, Darren Windus, will get the seat after a number of seasons in Subarus. Windus refused to comment on the possible drive when contacted by RallySport Magazine in Perth today (October 26).

It is thought that Windus’ involvement with the team would be highly beneficial for naming rights sponsor, Pirtek, who have a strong presence in country Western Australia. The chance for brand promotion using Windus and the rally team would tie in well with the company’s image.

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