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Tasmanian rally driver Stephen Turner and co-driver Daniel Willson have finished in an impressive third outright in the debut of their new Ford Fiesta R2 at Rally Victoria.

With only 10 kilometres of gravel testing done in the Ford Fiesta R2 the crew headed into the event cautiously.  Heat one on Friday saw the team put down some consistent times to finish in second place behind the Honda crew of Mark Pedder and Claire Ryan.  “I was really surprised to finish in second for heat one. It was the first time I'd driven the car competitively on gravel and we were still fine tuning the set-up, so to get a result like that for our supporters Kuhmo Tyres and Signworks is just fantastic,” Turner said.

Heat two on Saturday was a difficult day for the Fiesta crew as problems with rocks jamming the rear brakes caused them to slide off during the second stage, damaging the front of the car.  With temporary repairs made at the morning service the crew tackled the second loop only to have similar problems.  “It was really unnerving having brake problems in the first two loops, it made the car unpredictable and difficult to drive so we couldn't really push it hard,” Turner said.

The dramas in heat two saw the crew slip down to sixth but their strong performance on day one meant they had secured third outright for the event behind the two works Honda's of Eli Evans and Mark Pedder. “I'm really happy to finish on the podium in our first event with this new car, we've learnt a lot this weekend and it sets us up with confidence for the 2013 championship,” Turner said

With only fifteen weeks until the 2013 championship begins the team have a lot of work to do to secure funding for their assault on the championship.  “I think that our results this weekend show we are serious contenders in 2013 and I hope we can get new supporters on board for more strong results next year,” Turner added.

Photo by James Rooke

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