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Michael Guest at the 
2006 Rally of Canberra
Michael Guest at the 2006 Rally of Canberra



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20th March, 2006

Despite a non-finish in the Rally of Canberra, Pirtek Rally Team Ford has taken a lot of positives from its first official factory entry in the Australian Rally Championship for 25 years.

Michael Guest and co-driver David Green were forced to retire with a broken differential mount on the second last stage of the opening leg. Unfortunately the same problem occurred on the first stage of leg #2.

The Focus had completed 100 competitive kilometres during leg one, with the team gaining valuable knowledge to further improve the car for the next event in Western Australia.

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    The Pirtek Rally Team Ford crew were forced to change the gearbox on the first service after breaking fifth gear. Also during the service the left-rear suspension had to be changed after the trailing-arms were damaged after Guest hit a rock.

    Despite the massive challenge, the crew completed all the changes in 23 minutes, incurring just 80 seconds in time penalties.

    The crew was again called into action on the day's second service to change a split oil cooler. Again they completed the task and had the Focus back in the fight.

The Pirtek Rally Team Ford Focus was showing enormous potential. As leg #1 progressed the Focus upped the pace to be setting times within two seconds per kilometre of the leading entries.

The hot Canberra weather made conditions very rough with a number of teams suffering dramas. Punctures were prolific amongst the competition. However, the tyres being run by Pirtek Rally Team Ford stood up to all the challenges.

Despite not finishing Michael Guest was positive for the future.

"I was pleased with how we were performing, but it would have been nice to complete the event," said Guest.

"As a team we have learnt a lot this weekend and we will be far better off for the future."

"We have had a solid run in testing, but nothing compares to real competitive kilometres. The conditions we experienced this weekend in Canberra were pretty extreme and the net result going forward is very positive."

"I remain upbeat about where this car is going and over the next couple of events I'm sure we can make further improvements. What has me excited is that we are still scratching the surface with this car."

Technical Manager Steve Hoinville has already started planning on further improvements for the next event.

"Coming into this weekend our goal was to get as many miles as possible on the car," said Hoinville.

"Completing 100 competitive kilometres has given us an enormous amount of information. All the technical issues we have encountered this weekend have been identified and will be rectified before we head to Western Australia.

"We will do detailed analysis this coming week back in Melbourne. This will put us in a much stronger position going forward."

"We won't just identify areas that need to be improved for reliability; we will continue to improve the Focus to get our stage times down."

"We are still very much in our infancy, but we remain positive that steady improvement will be made over the coming events."

Ford Racing Manager Ray Price was upbeat about the performance of the Focus.

"It's great to be back in rallying and as we found out in Canberra it's a tough competition," said Price.

"I was impressed with a number of things over the weekend, including the professionalism of the crew to not only get the car into the competition, but also the gearbox change was simply fantastic."

"Just as impressive was the welcome we had from fans and the fellow competitors. A lot of people travelled a long way to see the car in competition. I'm sure we will see a lot more support as the year continues."

"I was especially pleased to have a number of business partners in Canberra, especially Pirtek and Hankook."

"Overall plenty of positives and the future is extremely bright."

The Pirtek Ford Rally Team will regroup over the next month before heading to Busselton for the QUIT Forest Rally Western Australia for the second round of the Australian Rally Championship on 20th-21st May.



2006 Rally of Canberra
2006 Rally of Canberra



Other Ford news: here.





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