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The Pirtek Rally Team is heading into the final stretch as it prepares for the opening round of the NEC Australian Rally Championship, the Coates Rally Queensland.

With just six weeks to the Sunshine Coast event, the Pirtek Rally Team crew is working around the clock to ensure two Super 2000 Ford Fiestas will be at the starting line at Coolum on Friday, March 30.

On the workshop floor the first Fiesta is being pieced together while the second shell is going through the final fabrication updates.

In the UK, Mountune are completing the engine program, while Sadev are finalising the transmission package in France.

Engine Manager, Gavin Selth, will head to the UK this week to oversee the delivery of the engines.

"It's been an extremely busy period over the last three months," said Chief Engineer Glenn Rees.

"We have had deadlines to meet all the way along. Thanks to outstanding efforts from our crew as well as our suppliers, everything is tracking well.

"It must be remembered that we are the first Ford team in the world to undertake the Super 2000 exercise. This has required a massive commitment from everyone involved in the program.

"We still have a lot on our plate, but we are doing everything in our power to get two cars to the first event in Queensland"

Both Michael Guest and Darren Windus were at the team base in Melbourne recently for seat fittings and team meetings.

"Darren and I were very impressed with what the team has done so far," said Michael Guest.

"I'm based in Newcastle and Darren in Perth, and it had been eight weeks since our last visit. To see the progress and actually sit in a car was very exciting.

"The good thing with the visit was that we didn't have to make too many adjustments. The driving position was pretty much spot-on.

"As a driver it makes you feel a whole lot more comfortable when everything is tracking well."

For Darren Windus, the opportunity to drive for a fully professional team has allowed him to concentrate on other areas of preparation for the season ahead.

"I've been training very hard, especially cycling," said Windus.

"The team asked me to supply measurements for my driving suit and I was pleasantly surprised to be measured by a tailor!

"Over the past few years I've been so busy with the actual car and team preparation side that I have not been able to get myself in the very best physical condition. I don't want to sound like one of those weight loss commercials, but I do feel like a new me.

"Fitness is critical in getting those extra tenths of a second out of the car, plus feeling strong throughout the entire event."

With announcements in the past few weeks on television and marketing improvements for the NEC Australian Rally Championship, the Pirtek Rally Team is looking forward to showcasing itself to a wider audience.

"The championship has signed a three-year extension with Network Ten, as well as a deal to broadcast on Fox Sports," said Commercial Manager Ben Beazley.

"There will be nine dedicated one -hour programs on Ten and Fox Sports plus a commitment to news coverage.

"Added to this is a commitment to enhance the marketing side of the championship and really give value back to the supporters, the teams and the many commercial partners like Pirtek and Ford.

"From our end we have been pleased with the response from the corporate sector, but as always we're keen to bring further involvement in what will be an excellent team and championship in 2007."

The Pirtek Rally Team has a new promotion video which can be viewed  HERE

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