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The Pirtek Rally Team Ford Focus will have a major new addition for the fourth round of the NEC Australian Rally Championship, the Safari Rally Tasmania.

A new large rear wing has given the Focus a bold new look, as well as providing an improvement in aerodynamic stability in high-speed sections.

Michael Guest completed a major test outside of Melbourne earlier this week where he evaluated the new rear wing as well as updated suspension and driveline components.

"The Focus looks great with the new wing, but importantly for me it gives us greater confidence to attack the high-speed sections," said Guest.

"We got through a full day's testing with next to no dramas. The team made a number of suspension adjustments throughout the day and by the end we had a very fast package.

"We are very well prepared going into the Tassie event. Finishing in Queensland proved that we have got good reliability and we can work on getting better speed from the car.

"The Tasmanian roads will suit our car a lot better than the previous rounds in Canberra, WA and Queensland. It's fast and flowing, so we are looking forward to opening-up the Focus."

Pirtek Rally Team Technical Director Steve Hoinville was pleased with the test and the aerodynamic addition.

"We are very pleased with the car's development to date, despite the limited number of testing opportunities." said Hoinville.

"We have always believed it to be important to get as many competitive miles on the car before making changes to its base specification. With this in mind, the past week was the first opportunity to trial the rear wing and the rear suspension development program.

"We have also tested a revised engine specification on the dyno after Queensland, but we feel it needs some more development to be reliable enough to campaign. However, we have learned that we can increase the RPM limit of the current engine from 7500 to 8100rpm. This engine has proved very reliable to date, and the increase in rev range should be a small help on the fast roads we will see in Tasmania.

"Tassie does give us the first opportunity to see us run in conditions that will be better suited to our rear-wheel-drive configuration. Our goal will be to run inside the top-10 through the event."

North Hobart's restaurant and shopping strip on Elizabeth Street will play host to the Ceremonial Start on the Friday (14 July) evening before official competition gets underway on the Saturday morning in the Huon Valley.

The Safari Rally of Tasmania consists of 20 timed stages totalling 178 competitive kilometres.
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