The Pirtek Rally Team has completed a comprehensive pre-event test ahead of this weekend's second round of the NEC Australian Rally Championship, the Quit Forest Rally outside Busselton in Western Australia.
Michael Guest / Mark Stacey and Darren Windus / Jon Mortimer ran through a complete program aimed at improving the strength and reliability of the two Super 2000 Ford Fiestas.
The Pirtek Rally Team is the first team in the world to run Super 2000 Ford Fiestas.
After debuting the Fiesta at the start of April at the Coates Rally Queensland, which included a fifth place finish for Windus in Leg #2, the Pirtek Rally Team identified a number of areas that required improved reliability heading into the Quit Forest Rally.
The test was run in a mixture of dry and wet conditions, providing valuable information on the car in contrasting situations.
"The test was very good, we have a much better understanding of the cars now," said Michael Guest.
"Before the previous event in Queensland the Pirtek Rally Team had designed and completed the Fiestas in just 18 weeks. That event was really a shakedown for the cars.
"This test was about evaluating some changes and looking to further improve the reliability and strength of a number of components.
"From a driver's point of view my confidence in the car is growing and I'm learning how to get the most out of the Fiesta.
"I'm looking forward to this weekend and continuing the improvement on the entire package."
Windus had plenty of praise for the technical group behind the Pirtek Rally Team.
"Despite having had to traverse the country since the last event, the Pirtek Rally Team has made a range of improvements on the cars," said Windus.
"I have more confidence in providing good feedback to the guys, and they have been able to take that information to improve the car.
"The fact that we ran in dry and wet weather gave us a great opportunity to change the car for the conditions. From what we know about this weekend's weather at the moment we could experience a similar situation.
"We will not be changing our approach to this event. We must finish and continue to gather information on the cars to further improve it going forward."
Pirtek Rally Team Chief Engineer Glenn Rees was pleased with the outcome the test.
"We had made a range of improvements on the Fiestas since Queensland and the test showed that we are heading in the right direction," said Rees.
"There were some cooling issues in Queensland and we had no problems with that during this test.
"With the weather changing we tried different cuts on the Michelin tyres and that was a success. That's critical as we now have confidence on what we can do if those conditions continue this weekend.
"The test was important to evaluate the brake package from Galfer and we were very impressed with what that can provide us.
"Of the other major changes since Queensland, we have installed a new exhaust system. The Chard Exhaust has given the Fiesta a slightly different sound, but importantly we have not sacrificed any performance."

The Pirtek Rally Team will continue preparations until the end of the week when the Quit Forest Rally gets underway on the Busselton waterfront on Friday evening.


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