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The Ford Fiesta R2 will make its Australian debut at Rally Victoria in the hands of Tasmanian driver, Stephen Turner.

The Fiesta R2 arrived in Australia last Wednesday and is currently being converted from tarmac to gravel specification in readiness for its first outing.  The car made its competition debut with Turner at the wheel on the tarmac Ulster Rally of Northern Ireland in August.

Stephen finished the Ulster Rally 17th outright and 9th in class, a great effort on a surface he hasn’t raced on before and on roads unlike anything in Australia.  “Now I understand why it takes people like Brendan Reeves time to come to grips with the tarmac events in the WRC Academy – we just don’t have tarmac roads anything like the tarmac stages in Europe” Stephen said.

Turner, a 26 year old electrician from Hobart is excited about the prospect of giving the Fiesta R2 its Australian rally debut.

“All my rallying has been in a Falcon XR6 and the Fiesta is a big change.  It is fast, handles really well, has great suspension and stops quickly, so I am keen to see how it goes against the new generation of 2WD cars competing in the Australian Rally Championship” Turner said.  “But I’m not getting ahead of myself.  All I want to do is gain some experience in a FWD car and finish the event and then I will look at the times at the end of the rally” Stephen added.

Turner won the 2009 Tasmanian 2WD Rally Championship and was the runner up in last year’s 2WD Rallyschool Australian Junior Challenge.  

The new car has also brought along new sponsors for the team.  Andrew and Carol at Signworks and Kumho Tyres Australia have helped out to get the car to this round along with long time supporters Moonah Auto Salvage and Autocraft.

Phil Coppin, spokesman for the Australian resellers of the R2 in Australia, RSPORT said “I am excited to finally see an R2 competing in Australia and will be interested to see how Stephen goes but to be fair he needs to enjoy the drive and let the speed come to him as the event unfolds.  Driving the FWD car is going to be a big change from his XR6.”

Photo by Katrina Dodd
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