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2007 Rally of South Australia

  1. EVANS WINS THRILLER IN SA
  2. STAGE SET FOR EXCITING FINISH IN SA
  3. REIGNING CHAMP ON FIRE EARLY ON DAY 2
  4. EVANS SNATCHES HEAT 1 VICTORY
  5. EVANS RUNNING OUT OF STAGES IN HEAT 1
  6. EVANS CLOSES IN
  7. TRD DRIVERS IN CONTENTION AFTER FIVE STAGES
  8. BATES SCORES FIRST STAGE WIN FOR NEW CAR
  9. TRD RARING TO GO IN SA

EVANS WINS THRILLER IN SA


TRD's Simon Evans has staged a remarkable performance to win both heats of the Toyota Kluger Rally of South Australia and score his fourth straight round win in the NEC Australian Rally Championship.

Evans and his co-driver wife Sue claimed their eighth and ninth consecutive heat wins in the Barossa Valley despite South Australian Subaru driver Steve Glenney pushing them throughout the event.

Glenney put his local knowledge to good use, staging a titanic struggle with the reigning champion.

Evans prevailed at the tarmac Angaston Special Stage last night to win Heat 1 by 0.9s.

It was again tight in Heat 2 as the drivers left the final service of the day with Evans leading by a meagre 5.6s.

However, he pulled out a whopping 15s on Glenney in just 13 kilometres of rallying through stages 20 and 21 to score a decisive heat victory by 19.1s.

Team mate Neal Bates spent the day recovering from a slow start to Heat 2 - the TRD team boss finding himself in seventh place at the day's first service.

Bates and co-driver Coral Taylor fought back throughout the day, gaining on and passing several drivers to finish the day fourth.

Combined with his third place in Heat 1, Bates and Taylor finished equal third with Subaru's Dean Herridge on points - but missed out on the podium on a count back.

Bates leaves the Barossa Valley thrilled to have completed two full events with his brand new Corolla Super 2000 car without suffering a single mechanical failure.

Simon Evans, Group N (P):
"That was a really satisfying win. Glenney pushed us the whole way, and to come through and beat him on his home roads was a great achievement. It was pretty hard towards the end of Heat 2, but we turned up the wick on those last stages and pulled out the win. It was a pretty wild rally - amazingly fast and really slippery. There were some slightly out of control moments, but it is always a great thrill to win a tight one. The team has just built a bulletproof car - if I was ever going to break the Corolla it was going to be this afternoon, but we did not have a problem all day. We've now got a massive 95 point lead in the championship, which is almost unbelievable."

Neal Bates, S2000:
"I am over the moon with the reliability of our car during its first two events. We didn't quite have the speed this morning, but we picked it up again this afternoon which meant we could get past some of the cars that had snuck past us early. The team has made a remarkable car and it is only going to get better. We were battling with Dean for the whole rally - it's just a shame that he pipped us for the last podium place today on count back. Simon and Steve were just so fast this weekend - congratulations to Simon and Sue for coming out on top.


Toyota Kluger Rally SA - Heat 2.
Final results:
1) Simon Evans Toyota Corolla Group N (Prototype) 50:03.6
2) Steve Glenney Subaru Impreza WRX Group N +19.1
3) Dean Herridge Subaru Impreza WRX Group N +28.4
4) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla Super 2000 +43.5
5) Brendan Reeves Subaru Impreza WRX Group N +50.4
6) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO Group N +1:04.6

Toyota Kluger Rally SA.
Overall results:
1) Simon Evans Toyota Corolla Group N (Prototype)
2) Steve Glenney Subaru Impreza WRX Group N
3) Dean Herridge Subaru Impreza WRX Group N
4) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla Super 2000
5) Brendan Reeves Subaru Impreza WRX Group N
6) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO Group N

NEC Australian Rally Championship.
Points standings after Round 4:
1) Simon Evans Toyota Corolla Group N (Prototype) 323 points
2) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla Super 2000 228
3) Dean Herridge Subaru Impreza WRX Group N 218
4) Brendan Reeves Subaru Impreza WRX Group N 152
5) Michael Guest Ford Fiesta Super 2000 112
6) Eli Evans Subaru Impreza WRX Group N 104

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STAGE SET FOR EXCITING FINISH IN SA


The stage is set for an exciting finish to the Toyota Kluger Rally of South Australia after local driver Steve Glenney pulled back time on leader Simon Evans during the afternoon's stages.

TRD's Evans leads the Subaru driver by 5.6s heading into the final three stages of Heat 2.

Glenney gained ground on the reigning champion during the rally's longest stage, taking advantage of his starting position behind Evans.

As the first car to start, the Evans duo's Corolla acted as a road sweeper, clearing the road's slippery surface for the following drivers.

Neal Bates was the next car on the road behind Evans and faced a similar problem.

However, Bates did not suffer as much and clawed his way back to fifth place to remain in contention for a podium position.


Simon Evans, Group N (P):
"Although Glenney closed in we have done a good job, and we are ahead of last year's times so we're happy. It was slippery out there but we expected that. Heading into the final stages we're feeling good and no matter what we are going to come away with a big points lead in the championship and that's the goal."

Neal Bates, S2000:
"The roads were incredibly slippery and the start of Eden High (the day's longest stage) and because Simon and I were road sweepers everyone behind us had an advantage. But, we have already been over two of the final three stages so it should not be a problem for the rest of the heat. We are trying our best and will see what we can do heading into the final few stages."


The Toyota Kluger Rally of South Australia is evenly poised and the cars have returned to the forest for the final three stages that will decide the overall rally result.


Toyota Kluger Rally SA - Heat 2.
Results after SS16:
1) S.Evans Toyota Corolla Group N (Prototype) 17:11.5
2) Glenney Subaru Impreza WRX Group N +5.6
3) Herridge Subaru Impreza WRX Group N +20.8
4) Reeves Subaru Impreza WRX Group N +35.8
5) Bates Toyota Corolla Super 2000 +37.9
6) Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO Group N +41.9

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REIGNING CHAMP ON FIRE EARLY ON DAY 2


Simon Evans has shot out of the blocks in Heat 2 to establish a 13.7s lead over the rest of the field after the first two stages of the day.

After dramatically claiming victory in Heat 1 at last night's Angaston Oval Special Stage, the championship leader set tongues wagging with two blistering stage wins.

It was an impressive performance from Evans, with local star Steve Glenney expected to challenge for the lead on the event's shire roads.

However, it was Simon's brother Eli who was second fastest in his Subaru at the day's first service.

The day started with two unsuitable stages for Neal Bates' brand new Super 2000 Corolla - he sits seventh, just 7.0s off third.

The new car has a much lower top speed than Evans' previous model Group N (Prototype) car, and the long straights in stages 15 and 16 saw the Bates machine repeatedly on the rev limiter in top gear.

Simon Evans, Group N (P):
"It was very foggy on that first stage. It was pretty dangerous and I thought if we had a crack in there some of the other drivers might be a bit cautious and we could maybe build a lead. I want to win the rally so I took a bit of a punt this morning. I'm just focusing on the next stage and doing the best we can there. They were by far the fastest stages I've run in Australia - they were amazingly quick, real heart in the mouth stuff. It was great fun to drive."

Neal Bates, S2000:
"They probably weren't my best ever stages - I was perhaps a little bit cautious in there. Today is going to be a real challenge, but we are not far away - there is a group of six cars really close together. The little bit of moisture that we've had has probably packed down some of the loose stuff, and created a little more grip than I expected. We probably lost a few seconds banging on the rev limiter on those long straights, but it wasn't too bad an issue."

Cars exit the service park for three more stages before returning for the event's final service.


Toyota Kluger Rally SA - Heat 2.
Results after SS16:
1) S.Evans Toyota Corolla Group N (Prototype) 17:11.5
2) E.Evans Subaru Impreza WRX Group N +13.7
3) Herridge Subaru Impreza WRX Group N +20.1
4) Guest Ford Fiesta Super 2000 +22.2
5) Glenney Subaru Impreza WRX Group N +25.3
6) Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO Group N +25.5

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EVANS SNATCHES HEAT 1 VICTORY


TRD's Simon Evans has secured victory in Heat 1 of the Toyota Kluger Rally of South Australia, beating local ace Steve Glenney by 0.9s.

Evans snatched the win from Glenney during the final two stages of Heat 1 on the tarmac Angaston Oval Special Stage.

Evans and his co-driver wife Sue trailed Glenney's Subaru by 5.6s heading into the heat's final stages, but two small mistakes from the South Australian allowed the Evans duo to take the lead.

The win means Evans has now won all seven heats contested this year, and places him in the ideal position to secure the round victory tomorrow.

The reigning ARC champion's heat win sees him extend his championship lead to 81 points over team mate Neal Bates (283 points to 202).

Bates continued his consistent pace into the evening's tarmac stages and secured another impressive performance in his brand new Corolla - third place in Heat 1.

The three-time champion again showed the potential of the new S2000 Corolla, setting times nearly two seconds faster than he achieved at Angaston Oval on Friday night.

Simon Evans, Group N (P):
"It goes to show that you should never give up. We kept pushing and we achieved the result we wanted. We put the pressure on at all the right times and Glenney made two small mistakes at the hairpin tonight and that allowed us to close the gap. It was a tough day and we were made to work hard for it. But we had the championship in the back of our mind and we kept it clean and neat and put it all together and we have come away with the win."

Neal Bates, S2000:
"We have come away with a great result today. The team has worked really hard since Canberra and we are closing the gap. There is still work to do on the entire package and although it does everything it needs to really well, we are pushing to make it better. The car is performing incredibly well for only its second event - the crew has built a strong and reliable car, so all credit to them.

Bates and Evans return to action tomorrow for Heat 2 of the Toyota Kluger Rally of South Australia, where the day's eight stages will decide the rally's overall winner.


Toyota Kluger Rally SA - Heat 1.
Final results - Heat 1:
1) S.Evans Toyota Corolla Group N (Prototype) 57:53.0
2) Glenney Subaru Impreza WRX Group N +0.9
3) Bates Toyota Corolla Super 2000 +29.7
4) Herridge Subaru Impreza WRX Group N +37.1
5) Reeves Subaru Impreza WRX Group N +58.4
6) Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO Group N +1:35.4


NEC Australian Rally Championship
Toyota Kluger Rally of South Australia
Standings after Heat 1:
1) S.Evans Toyota Corolla Group N (Prototype) 283 points
2) Bates Toyota Corolla Super 2000 202
3) Herridge Subaru Impreza WRX Group N 188
4) Reeves Subaru Impreza WRX Group N 130
5) E.Evans Subaru Impreza WRX Group N 104
6) Guest Ford Fiesta Super 2000 101

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EVANS RUNNING OUT OF STAGES IN HEAT 1


Time is running out for Simon Evans to continue his remarkable run of NEC Australian Rally Championship heat victories.

Evans has won seven straight heats leading into the Toyota Kluger Rally of South Australia - however, he sits in second by just 5.6s in Heat 1 in the Barossa Valley.

Evans and South Australian Steve Glenney have traded stage times all day, but the Subaru driver used all of his local knowledge to catch and pass Evans on the last two shire road stages before service.

The championship leader remains unconcerned, with Glenney completely out of the title picture.

Bates has been incredibly consistent all day, rarely dropping out of the top three stage times.

The new Super 2000 Corolla continues to impress with another bulletproof and fast performance.

Crews return to the tarmac Angaston Oval Special Stage tonight for two more runs to finish the heat.

With 1.1s separating the top four in the first two runs at Angaston Oval, Evans will have his work cut out for him.

Simon Evans, Group N (P):
"We're going to give it the very best we can tonight. It's going to be tough because Steve's doing a great job out there. There was a great crowd out at Angaston last night - I actually put on a bit of a show and played with the handbrake a fair bit, but I might have to be a bit cleaner and try to get the fastest time. We're trying to push without taking too many risks, but it's been pretty hairy out there at times - the in-car camera footage should look interesting."

Neal Bates, S2000:
"It looks like we're going to end up third, which I think is about as good as I could achieve today. All in all I'm very satisfied with today's performance - it is pretty clear that we have already improved the pace quite a bit since the last round in Canberra. The last two stages were incredibly slippery because we hadn't been over them yet this rally. We'll just try and keep it together on the tarmac tonight and make sure we get third."


Toyota Kluger Rally SA - Heat 1.
Results after SS12:
1) Glenney Subaru Impreza WRX Group N 56:14.2
2) S.Evans Toyota Corolla Group N (Prototype) +5.6
3) Bates Toyota Corolla Super 2000 +33.7
4) Herridge Subaru Impreza WRX Group N +41.4
5) Reeves Subaru Impreza WRX Group N +1:02.7
6) Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO Group N +1:37.6

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EVANS CLOSES IN


TRD's Simon Evans has closed in on the lead in Heat 1 of the Toyota Kluger Rally of South Australia as Neal Bates' progress was slowed due to light damage sustained on Stage 6.

Evans closed in on the Subaru of leader Steve Glenney, narrowing the gap to 0.1s after eight stages.

The defending champion was pleased the road conditions had improved from the day's first stages.

Despite being slowed by the damage he sustained during Stage 6, Bates was able to maintain his pace and remains third overall.

Simon Evans, Group N (P)

"We're just focused on the job and driving the car. It is good to have another driver who is pushing (Glenney). The car is really good. I hit a big jump and the car needs a slight wheel alignment but that's normal. Obviously this hasn't been a strong event for me in the past, but everything is going really well - I am enjoying it."

Neal Bates, S2000

"We sustained some damage to the right side of the car but we only have to replace the headlight, bumper bar and grille. We're going well, and Herridge is right behind us so it's a good fight and we're very happy with the car."

There are four more stages before the next service in Heat 1 of the Toyota Kluger Rally of South Australia.


Toyota Kluger Rally SA - Heat 1.
Results after SS8:
1) Glenney Subaru Impreza WRX Group N 32:00.8
2) S.Evans Toyota Corolla Group N (Prototype) +0.1
3) Bates Toyota Corolla Super 2000 +15.7
4) Herridge Subaru Impreza WRX Group N +21.3
5) Reeves Subaru Impreza WRX Group N +34.8
6) Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO Group N +50.7


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TRD DRIVERS IN CONTENTION AFTER FIVE STAGES


Toyota's Simon Evans and Neal Bates sit second and third after five stages of the Toyota Kluger Rally of South Australia.

Evans flew out of the box this morning to establish a slender lead during the day's first two stages.

South Australian Subaru driver Steve Glenney put his local knowledge to good effect by jumping the championship leader in the fifth stage - establishing a 2.2s gap.

Neal Bates was busy setting consistent stage times all morning, and sits just 8.8s behind leader Glenney.

Both drivers lamented the lack of grip on the first pass over the first three forest stages of the event.

Simon Evans, Group N (P):
"I'm very happy with that start - we're in a perfect position. The stages were good - a bit slippery and we were doing some sweeping [of the roads] out there. That last stage was really slippery - it was very difficult to find grip on that one and we spent a lot of time off the road there. I would just turn into a corner and fly straight off the edge of the road. I fully expected that though - we'll just try and keep it clean again on the next stages."

Neal Bates, S2000:
"We had a good morning with no problems at all. That last stage was exceptionally slippery and we had a few moments in there, but we came through it with a reasonable time in the end. Running right behind Simon it seemed I was following his wheel tracks off the road at times. It appears that all the changes we've made since the car's debut have paid off because it has been fantastic so far."

There are three more stages before the next service in Heat 1 of the Toyota Kluger Rally of South Australia.


Toyota Kluger Rally SA - Heat 1
Results after SS5:
1) Glenney Subaru Impreza WRX Group N 18:30.8
2) S.Evans Toyota Corolla Group N (Prototype) +2.2
3) Bates Toyota Corolla Super 2000 +8.8
4) Herridge Subaru Impreza WRX Group N +14.6
5) Reeves Subaru Impreza WRX Group N +26.4
6) Guest Ford Fiesta Super 2000 +28.5

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BATES SCORES FIRST STAGE WIN FOR NEW CAR


TRD's Neal Bates has secured his first stage win in the new Super 2000 Corolla at the Toyota Kluger Rally of South Australia's Angaston Oval Special Stage.

Bates sits second overall after the first two stages of Heat 1, only 0.2 seconds behind the Subaru of Dean Herridge, with defending ARC champion Simon Evans third, only 0.7 seconds behind Bates.

The short Angaston Oval course incorporated tight hairpins, fast corners and ensured plenty of excitement for the bumper crowd.

Tarmac specialist Bates was pleased to take his first stage win in the new S2000 Corolla.

"To get the new car's first stage win is a great feeling, especially as it puts us in the right position heading into tomorrow's forest stages," Bates said.

"It's no secret that I enjoy driving on tarmac and to do so in front of such a large crowd was a great treat for all the drivers."

Pre-event favourite Evans was also happy with his performance on the two tarmac special stages and although it is not his favourite surface, he actually set an identical time to Bates on Stage 2.

"We had a great night out there and had some fun - you can't win the rally here, you can only lose it so we just tried to keep it neat," Evans said.

"The crowd was just awesome and it was a nice change to rally on tarmac, although I can't wait to get back into the forest tomorrow and show our true pace."

The rally heads to the forests around Mount Crawford tomorrow to finish the remaining 12 stages of Heat 1, concluding with two more runs over the Angaston Oval Special stage in the evening.

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TRD RARING TO GO IN SA


TRD stars Simon Evans and Neal Bates are itching to end the mid-season break at this weekend's Toyota Kluger Rally of South Australia.

Evans goes in to this weekend aiming for an astonishing fourth straight round win to build upon his 71 point championship lead over team mate Bates.

While Evans continues on his merry way in the previous generation Group N (Prototype) Corolla, Bates enters just his second event in the brand new Super 2000 model.

The new car was third on debut in Canberra, though could have climbed to second if not for a cut tyre.

Evans and Bates showed impressive speed in this morning's shakedown, tying for the fastest time of the session in the Mount Crawford Forest with Subaru's Dean Herridge.

Simon Evans, Group N (P):
"This is going to be a very fast rally! A lot of stages have been reversed and the roads are in extremely good condition. We have done a completely new set of notes for this event - I think we might have outgrown our old ones. I can't wait to get started tonight - it has been far too long between events!"

Neal Bates, S2000:
"This is one of my absolute favourite events. This event should suit the Super 2000 car quite well - there are a lot of fast and flowing corner sequences which should help the lighter S2000 cars. We have improved the car quite a bit - the set-up is a lot nicer than in Canberra and the car is also lighter."

Evans and Bates begin their South Australian assault in tonight's Super Special Stage at Angaston Oval. The tarmac night run should cater to tarmac specialist Bates, before the drivers and crew hit the forest tomorrow morning.

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