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The Pirtek Rally Team has marked itself as a team to watch in the NEC Australian Rally Championship at the Quit Forest Rally in Western Australia.
 
The strength and reliability of the Pirtek Rally Team Super 2000 Ford Fiesta has earned fourth and fifth overall outside Busselton.
 
Michael Guest / Mark Stacey were fourth in both heats, while Darren Windus / Jon Mortimer finished sixth on leg #1 and fifth on leg #2.
 
Both cars showed exceptional reliability and improved pace after their world-wide Super 2000 debut last month in Queensland. Both drivers set times in the top three on both legs in Western Australia.
 
The overall performance on both legs has the cars on average less than one second per kilometre off the pace of the turbo-charged Corolla of winner Simon and Sue Evans.
 
It was far from an easy event with the opening leg being run in sunny weather, while the treacherous ball-bearing gravel roads were made even tougher with rain throughout the second day.
 
It was during the second leg that Michael Guest showed the real potential of the Fiesta climbing to second overall. This came despite a bonnet fire after a fuel line worked loose; then a broken brake line later in the leg.
 
Unfortunately he couldn't hold onto second after he stalled and minor power steering problems.
 
"We had everything thrown at us and the Pirtek Rally Team Ford Fiesta stood up to all the challenges," said Guest.
 
"It's a bit disappointed to not finish second, but we certainly showed that this car has the potential. I know that our rivals now know that we mean business.
 
"The wet weather was a good test for us and we showed that the car is good in contrasting conditions.
 
"We did this all by following our-prevent plan to focus on reliability. There are areas we can now improve and we feel very confident of challenging in the coming events."
 
Darren Windus was delighted with the performance of the Fiesta and that of the Pirtek Rally Team.
 
"Really I didn't have that many issues with the car over the weekend,' said Windus.
 
"We had a couple of moments, especially in the wet stuff, but it's a very good sign that this car is strong in all types of conditions.
 
"The team was outstanding this weekend. It must be remembered that this was just the second event for this group. Like me, it shows that they are coming to grips with the car and that's showed in the preparation and performance of both cars."
 
Chief Engineer Glenn Rees was pleased with getting both cars through a full event.
 
"Finishing fourth and fifth is great, but I'm more pleased with the fact that we now have a very strong and reliable package," said Rees.
 
"The goal this weekend was not about the outright result, it was about getting the full complement of competitive kilometres on both cars. The fact that we showed great pace is a bonus.
 
"There are a lot of things still to come on these cars. It was important that we made sure that we had a strong base first and foremost. That's what we now have.
 
"There are a lot of things still to come, but going into the next event in Canberra we will focus on such things as sway bars, the hand brake and getting more out of the Michelin Tyres."
 
The Rally of Canberra will be run on June 2-3 .
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