Focus to debut 202kW engine
The Pirtek Rally Team heads to Rally South Australia this weekend full of confidence after two strong showings in Queensland and Tasmania.
Run in the Adelaide Hills, the fifth round of the NEC Australian Rally Championship has some of the fastest roads in the entire series. Michael Guest expects that it’s on the wide-open shire roads where the Focus will show its potential.
A new engine package will be used for this event with an extra 23kW, giving the 2.3-litre four-cylinder Duratec powerplant an output of 202kW.
"This really is the event we have been looking forward to all year," said Guest.
"Our-rear-wheel drive configuration will be much better suited to the wide-open roads that make up the majority of this event.
"We have proven in the last two rounds that we have a strong and reliable package, so we will be really able to open the car up on this event.
"The rally itself is excellent, both in terms of the roads we run and the organisation.
"The major spectator area attracts around 30,000 people, so it’s like a V8 Supercar round in many respects.
"For this event I’ll have David Green in the co-driver’s seat, as my regular co-driver Mark Stacey has commitments in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship. That’s not a big drama as David did Canberra with us at the start of the year and he’s also sat beside me on numerous occasions both in Australia and overseas."
Pirtek Rally Team Technical Director Steve Hoinville conducted some further testing of the Focus last week at the Ford Proving Ground near Geelong to shakedown the new engine and try some other changes.
"The new engine is a big improvement with not only more power, but also better torque," said Hoinville.
"While running the car we completed an aerodynamic investigation of the new rear-wing that we debuted at the last round in Tasmania. It has proved to be more efficient than we first expected which will certainly help on the high-speed sections.
"We have also conducted an evaluation of front and rear shock absorber settings and that will allow us to make better use of the Hankook tyres.
"On Wednesday we are using the Focus for a corporate ride day which will put an extra 150 competitive kilometres on the car before we start the event. We see this as an opportunity to put some further kilometres on the car which has proved very reliable on the last two events.
"This event will give us further indication of the car’s potential so we want Michael to really start to push for stage times."
The Rally South Australia features just under 192 competitive kilometres over 19 timed stages.