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The Pirtek Rally Team heads to an all-new event in the NEC Australian Rally Championship, the Great Lakes Rally outside Forster on the New South Wales Mid-North Coast, on 15-16 September.
 
This event is considered a home round for driver of the #4 Super 2000 Ford Fiesta, Michael Guest. It's just two-hours up the road from his home at Lake Macquarie.
 
Despite being close to home, Guest doesn't feel that he has a big jump on his rivals.
 
"I do know the region and the types of roads, but at the end of the day it's a totally new event for everyone," said Guest.
 
"I suppose I feel like the local favourite, mainly with the support from family and friends. That does give you a lift, but there are a lot of other things that go into giving you a good result.
 
"Importantly the stages are quite technical. With the handling of the Pirtek Rally Team Fiesta I feel that this could be a good event for us.
 
"I'm sure this event will quickly become a popular stop on the NEC ARC calendar. The service area in Forster, including all the excellent accommodation and beaches, makes it an ideal location for teams and spectators alike."
 
Driver of the #5 Pirtek Rally Team Ford Fiesta, Darren Windus, is based in Perth and will be one of the many drivers to experience Forster for the first time.
 
"Fortunately I have a teammate that has been giving me as much information as possible on the event," said Windus.
 
"Thursday before the rally will be very busy for us with the reconnaissance. Along with my co-driver Jon Mortimer we will have to write a complete set of new notes to the event, it's very important to get these right ahead of the weekend.
 
"To get warmed-up I'm competing in the Targa West road rally this weekend outside Perth in a Ford Focus XR5 Turbo. It's a different type of rally and car, but it will be a good hit out ahead of the Forster event.
 
"The last couple of rallies have not been that good for us, so we are looking for a strong and reliable run in New South Wales."
 
Pirtek Rally Team Chief Engineer Marcus Clarke has been busy since the last round in South Australia. Each car will have re-built engines and plenty of work has gone into other areas of the Super 2000 Fiesta.
 
The Pirtek Rally Team is only team in the world to run Super 2000 Ford Fiesta.
 
Clarke also traveled to Rally New Zealand to get an insight into the working of the Ford World Rally Championship team.
 
"We have put in some detailed work with our power-steering and suspension components," said Clarke.
 
"The Pirtek Rally Team is developing these cars in competition and we are learning all the time.
 
"We are confident that the changes made will improve the cars' reliability and I'm sure it will give the drivers more confidence.
 
"I took the opportunity to meet with the Ford World Rally Team at the recent Rally New Zealand. Team Director Malcolm Wilson was especially accommodating and it was pleasing to see two Ford teams working closely together.
 
"I was also pleased to meet plenty of people who were excited about what we were doing with the Fiesta Super 2000 project."
 
The Great Lakes Rally includes two days of competition covering 14 timed stages and a total of 184 competitive kilometers.
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