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In just 18 weeks the Pirtek Rally Team has designed, constructed and now tested the world's first Super 2000 Ford Fiestas ahead of this weekend's opening round of the NEC Australian Rally Championship, the Coates Rally Queensland on the Sunshine Coast.
 
The dedicated crew of the Pirtek Rally Team has had just a handful of days away from the workshop since Christmas, including a non-stop effort in the last three weeks.
 
With the full cooperation of the Coates Rally Queensland Organisers, the Australian Rally Commission (ARCom) and the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS), the Pirtek Rally Team was able to test both cars yesterday in the forests around the hinterland township of Imbil.
 
The #4 entry of Michael Guest / Mark Stacey and the #5 entry of Darren Windus / Jon Mortimer stretched the legs of the Fiestas for the very first time during an all-day session.
 
Final preparations to both cars were completed late yesterday at Pacific Ford in Maroochydore.
 
Today's test was successful with only minor technical issues experienced on both cars.
 
"This is just an amazing achievement by everyone involved," said Michael Guest.
 
"There are not too many racing organisations or people in the world that could have made this happen.
 
"The car was good today. We had some minor issues, but all things considered it was a successful day.
 
"We are not out there this weekend to win the event. We must get more competitive kilometres on both cars so that we can improve the Fiesta going forward.
 
"I know that we have done less than 100-kilometres of running, but already we have realised the potential in the cars."
 
For Darren Windus it was about working with the team engineers and acclimatising to the French-built Sadev transmission.
 
"A lot of new things, but importantly I was working my way through a familiarisation process today," said Windus.
 
"I have come from driving turbo-charged cars over the last few years and getting into a non-turbo car requires a totally different driving style. Add to this the sequential transmission and you can understand how different this car is.
 
"There's no doubt we still have a lot to learn. Finishing is critical and a just reward for all the efforts of the crew."
 
Team Principal Jason Bright attended the test and will be at the Coates Rally Queensland this weekend.
 
"I have to say a big thanks to everyone involved," said Jason Bright.
 
"From our organisation's point of view it's a great achievement to get these two Pirtek Rally Team Ford Fiestas into action ahead of this weekend rally.
 
"As a competitor I know the boys want to go for it, but as a team owner I know that we must finish the event and get information on making the cars better.
 
"This is a long-term project and information is the key right now. From that point we can improve the cars and then think about winning events."
 
The Pirtek Rally Team will host two representatives from Sadev this weekend. Sadev is the supplier of transmissions to all Super 2000 entries around the world.
 
The Coates Rally Queensland gets underway tomorrow night (Friday 30 March) at Coolum Beach. The opening round of the 2007 NEC Australian Rally Championship features 17 timed stages covering 206 competitive-kilometres. 
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