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Michael Guest is looking to finish his season on a high note when he takes his Pirtek Les Walkden Rallying Subaru to contest the sixth and final round of the Australian Rally Championship this weekend.

Guest, from Lake Macquarie on the NSW central coast, has had a mixed season behind the wheel of his LWR-prepared Impreza WRX STI, and after the tarmac of Tasmania last month, he’s looking forward to returning to the gravel in Coffs Harbour.

While the region has hosted a round of the ARC in the past, the Coffs Coast Rally is a new event.

Guest says he is looking forward to the challenge of a tackling some new terrain.

“Although Coffs Harbour hasn’t had a round of the ARC since 2000, it’s great that it’s back in the championship,” Guest said.

“The stages will be new to all the ARC regulars, and that means that nobody will have a real advantage when the event gets underway.

“I really enjoy the natural, hardwood forest stages as they are similar to the roads I grew up driving on, so the plan is to push hard and finish on the podium.”

After the disappointment of the last round in Tasmania where his Subaru suffered drivetrain problems, Guest is determined to put his season of bad luck behind him. Mechanical problems, collisions with kangaroos and accidents have thwarted his assault on the championship, but he remains confident ahead of the final round.

“We had a really good gravel set up for the car at the last two gravel events in Queensland and South Australia,” he added. “We picked up second in Queensland, but then had an unfortunate accident in SA.

“The set-up for the car was really good for both those events, and it gives us a solid platform to work with for this weekend.

“We expect conditions to be dry for the rally and that means we’ll need to run a harder compound Pirelli tyre, so we’ll work on the suspension set-up during this week’s pre-rally test session.”

Guest, with co-driver David Green alongside, will drive the same left-hand drive Impreza WRX STI that he had in Tasmania, and like all events this year, he knows the competition will be tough.

“The Toyota factory drivers, Simon Evans and Neal Bates, will be hard to beat, as will privateers such as Eli Evans and Spencer Lowndes. Local Coffs Harbour driver, Nathan Quinn, should also be on the pace of the front runners.

“But I enjoy the types of roads that this event offers, and I’ll be driving flat out to give the team and our sponsors a fitting result to end the season,” Guest said.

The Coffs Coast Rally will be held over 223.70 competitive kilometres and 14 special stages. Two of the stages will be run four times; the Sherwood and Bucca Long tests make up over 70 per cent of the total event distance.

After a ceremonial start in the centre of Coffs Harbour on Friday night, the competitive stages will take place on Saturday and Sunday. The event headquarters and service park will be at the BCU Stadium.
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