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Ford have begun issuing ‘teasers’ of information concerning their 2007 plans for the Australian Rally Championship. Apart from confirming that there will be a two-car team in 2007 and that Michael Guest will be the lead driver, nothing else has been confirmed except that the construction and on-going preparation of the cars will be under the direction of V8 Supercar driver Jason Bright’s company, Britek. The company issued the following media release today, outlining some of its plans for next year.

“The Pirtek Rally Team will go through an expansion in 2007, including the re-location of the team, the addition of a second entry, and a move to all-wheel-drive under the new Super 2000 regulations. As part of a desire to have the team challenge for victory in the NEC Australian Rally Championship, the ongoing development and running of the team will be transferred to Britek Motorsport. Britek Motorsport, which is owned by V8 Supercar driver Jason Bright, runs Falcons in the V8 Supercar Championship Series for Fujitsu Racing. It will expand its engineering and race preparations to include the Pirtek Rally Team. The Pirtek Rally Team will be based out of the same premises in the Melbourne suburb of Dandenong South.

"The move to Britek Motorsport is part of a strategy to challenge in the highly-competitive Australian rally scene," said Ford Racing Manager Ray Price. "Britek has established race engineering as well as the facilities to offer the best outcome for the Pirtek Rally Team. "Ford will continue to support this program, offering the required assistance when necessary."

Britek Motorsport General Manager Chris Jewell is looking forward to the challenge of running the Pirtek Rally Team. "The opportunity to bring the rally program into our stable is an exciting time not just for us, but also Ford and Pirtek," said Jewell. "People think of us being a V8 Supercar outfit, but we have always said that our business is about running professional racing programs for different categories. "Our already extensive race facility is currently going through an upgrade including paint and panel facilities, and CNC metal lathe machines amongst other things. "We also have established administration and management. This gives us greater economies across both the rally and V8 programs. "Part of the deal is to run a second car. We'll make an announcement on that driver in the near future."         
   
"Also a priority is an all-wheel-drive entry. We're in the process of establishing the ground work for at least one Super 2000 entry in 2007."

A long-time supporter of Ford Racing programs, Pirtek is looking forward to the new direction under Britek Motorsport. "We have enjoyed our first year in the Australian Rally Championship and we see the move to Britek Motorsport as a very positive sign for the team," said Pirtek General Manager Stephen Dutton. "It's a thrill to also be working with Jason Bright again. It was with Jason that we had great success winning Bathurst in 1998. Although it's been a few years since we've had a direct working relationship, we've always remained in contact. "We have had a look through the race team facilities. I have to say that we have been impressed and we are very pleased to be working with a very professional organisation as this program grows. "Pirtek's philosophy has always been to get in at start-up and grow through that progression. We see no reason why this won't continue with the Pirtek Rally Team and Britek Motorsport."

Multiple champion Michael Guest will continue to spearhead the Pirtek Rally Team in 2007. "This is all very positive and I'm looking forward to 2007," said Guest. "There are some very exciting developments which as a driver I'm really looking forward to. "All the people involved are highly professional and it'll also be a bonus to have a team-mate to give the team that double-punch in the events. "We are going to be a team to watch in 2007 I have no doubt about that,” he concluded.

RallySport Magazine will continue to monitor Ford’s program for next year and stands by its claim that the team will run a pair of 4WD Fiestas in the 2007 ARC, the second car to be driven by Western Australian privateer, Darren Windus.
 

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