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The Super 2000 Ford Fiesta has a bright future after the Pirtek Rally Team made the world debut of the car at the opening round of the NEC Australian Rally Championship, the Coates Rally Queensland.

The highlight of the weekend was fifth pace outright in heat #2 for Darren Windus and Jon Mortimer.

Michael Guest and Mark Stacey were 11th at the completion of leg #1, but were running as high as fourth.

Throughout the event both cars set times in the top five.

A program that was completed in just 18 weeks, including design and construction was without doubt a massive achievement for the team.

After completing just 70 kilometres in pre-event testing on Thursday before the rally, it was not surprising that both cars experienced a range of issues throughout the event. This included a broken gearbox for Windus on leg #1 and power steering failure for Guest on leg #2.

However, under the regulations both cars were able to complete each leg of competition, and score valuable points in the ARC championship.

More importantly was the information gained by the crew to further improve the cars for future events.

"This has been a very good start for the Pirtek Rally Team," said Windus.

"There have been plenty of challenges throughout the weekend, but overall we are very pleased with what we have achieved.

"For me it's been a massive learning experience, as a driver it was a totally new car to get on top of as well as work with a professional organisation for the first time.

"The car is excellent to drive. Along with the team we know there's plenty to come and we are looking forward to making great gains throughout the year."

Michael Guest had no doubt the car has enormous potential.

"We have only scratched the surface with the Fiesta," said Guest.

"The Pirtek Rally Team has the right vehicle, but also the crew to make improvements for the upcoming events.

"For me this weekend was about getting back into a quality all-wheel-drive rally car. I'm sure we can get on top of this car going forward.
 
"We can look forward with confidence for the next event in Western Australia."

Team owner Jason Bright had plenty of praise for the Pirtek Rally Team.

"I was impressed with the speed of the car, but more importantly how this team met all the challenges," said Bright.

"We expected to have some technical issues with the cars this weekend, but we fully understand what these issues now are and we can work to rectify them and improve the reliability. From that point we can get work on improving the speed.

"Both drivers took the right approach. They were aware that they needed to finish and that has brought a great reward for the team.

"From a personal point of view it was great to see the professional look of the car and team. The sound of the cars is something else and I really enjoyed being part of the event.

"I know that our decision to take on the Pirtek Rally Team Ford Fiesta Super 2000 program was the right one."

The Pirtek Rally Team now heads back to its Melbourne base before taking the long journey across the country to Western Australia for round #2 of the NEC Australian Rally Championship, the Quit Forest Rally outside Busselton on 28-29 April.
 
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