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Rally of Canberra

  1. BATES WINS BACK-TO-BACK AS EVANS TAKES HEAT
  2. EVANS AHEAD AS TRD GOES 1-2
  3. ALMOST EVANS AS BATES TAKES HOME WIN
  4. BATES LEADS TIGHT CAPITAL BATTLE
  5. TRD DUO LEAD CANBERRA SHAKEDOWN

BATES WINS BACK-TO-BACK AS EVANS TAKES HEAT


TRD Rally Team boss Neal Bates has secured consecutive Australian Rally Championship (ARC) round wins following a well-deserved victory in his home event, the Rally of Canberra.

Bates and co-driver Coral Taylor secured victory in Saturday's Heat 1 and finished second in today's Heat 2 behind hard-charging team-mate and defending series champion Simon Evans.

It was the first time in nine years the three-time ARC champion had won back-to-back rounds and he now leads the championship by 36 points from Evans.

Evans, who spent most of the event recovering from damaged sustained on the opening stage, won the National Rally of Canberra - an award given to the ARC competitor with the lowest cumulative time for Saturday and Sunday.

The two-time ARC champion put in a sterling effort to recover more than two minutes on the field, winning 15 of the event's 18 stages and pulling a 1m23.5s gap over Bates to also secure victory in Heat 2.

TRD's strong result means the Toyota duo now sit 1-2 in the drivers' standings and have opened up a gap over Darren Windus who secured his first ARC podium with third for the round.

ARC regulars Michael Guest and Eli Evans competed in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) field of the joint APRC/ARC event, with Guest recording a DNF in Heat 1 and Evans a DNF in Heat 2.

The TRD Rally Team now takes a break before returning for the third round of the ARC, the Coates Rally Queensland on 21-22 June.

Simon Evans, Car #21 - S2000 Corolla:
"I am starting to get a real feel for this fantastic new S2000 Corolla. If I didn't have the confidence in it that I did there is no way I would have been able to push like that and get the result we did. I am just relieved we did the job as I put a lot of pressure on myself especially after yesterday's disappointing result. It is a real testament to a great team and a great car. Queensland is next on the calendar and it is my favourite event. I am looking forward to driving the S2000 on those roads - it is going to be wicked."

Neal Bates, Car #22 - S2000 Corolla:
"I am over the moon to win two in a row and to be leading the championship. We are in a great position and we'll just keep racking up the points and see how the year pans out. It was actually an uneventful rally for us. We had a small sway bar problem today but apart from that the car ran faultlessly. For Simon to have pulled back a couple of minutes shows just how fast he is and highlights the speed and strength of the car. We are a small team but it is a real credit to the guys just how amazing the S2000 Corolla is - the world is starting to pay attention. I am really looking forward to the next round in Queensland and as they say - good things come in threes, so on to Queensland."

Australian Rally Championship
Rally of Canberra
Heat 1 - Final Results:
1) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla S2000 1h13m00.5s
2) Eli Evans Subaru Impreza WRX +15.4
3) Simon Evans Toyota Corolla S2000 +18.0
4) Darren Windus Subaru Impreza WRX +40.6
5) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +41.0
6) Glen Raymond Toyota Corolla Group N (P) +4:13.5

Australian Rally Championship
Rally of Canberra
Heat 2 - Final Results:
1) Simon Evans Toyota Corolla S2000 1h10m17.2s
2) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla S2000 +1:23.5
3) Darren Windus Subaru Impreza WRX +1:59.1
4) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +3:54.8
5) Steven Shepheard Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +5:32.0
6) Dennis Dunlop Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +5:39.8

Australian Rally Championship
Rally of Canberra
Overall Results:
1) Simon Evans Toyota Corolla S2000
2) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla S2000
3) Darren Windus Subaru Impreza WRX
4) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO
5) Steven Shepheard Mitsubishi Lancer EVO
=6) Bruce Fullerton Mitsubishi Lancer EVO
=6) Eli Evans Subaru Impreza WRX

Australian Rally Championship
Championship Standings:
1) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla S2000 148 points
2) Simon Evans Toyota Corolla S2000 112
3) Darren Windus Subaru Impreza WRX 94
=4) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 86
=4) Eli Evans Subaru Impreza WRX 86
6) Justin Dowel Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 62

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EVANS AHEAD AS TRD GOES 1-2


TRD's Simon Evans has put the disappointment of Heat 1 behind him to take a commanding lead early in Heat 2 of the Rally of Canberra.

Evans comfortably won the first three stages of Heat 2, allowing him to open a 51.9s heat lead over team-mate Neal Bates and a gap of more than one minute over the Subaru of Darren Windus in third.

The reigning Australian rally champion has put in a solid recovery drive in his battle scarred S2000 Corolla and by winning eight of the 12 stages run so far, he has already done enough to secure the bonus point for most stage wins.

Bates' Heat 1 victory and current second place put him in a strong position to secure consecutive outright victories.

The current Australian Rally Championship (ARC) leader suffered a broken front anti-roll bar during the morning stages which the TRD service crew replaced during the day's only service.

Toyota privateer Glen Raymond did not start Heat 2 after technical issues slowed him late in Heat 1 and fellow Group N (P) Corolla pilot Stewart Reid retired after this morning's opening stage with electrical problems.

Crews now head into the Kowen Forest for the final six stages of the Rally of Canberra - all of which have been run at least once during the course of the event.

Simon Evans, Car #21- S2000 Corolla:
"I am a bit happier now but this is where I want to be - in the lead controlling the rally from the front. Yesterday was a bit of a downer but it was out of my control. The roads are really terrible - rutted, dusty and chewed up. But everybody is driving in the same conditions so we can't complain too much. We'll just keep pushing this afternoon as we are in the groove so the plan is to keep doing what we are doing. Just take it one corner at a time."

Neal Bates, Car #22 - S2000 Corolla:
"We have had a good morning and everything is going well. We broke the front anti-roll bar but it didn't hurt our pace at all. The road condition isn't great and there is a lot of dust around but what can we do? Everything is going well so far, so let's hope for more of the same this afternoon."

Australian Rally Championship
Rally of Canberra
Heat 2 - Results after SS12:
1) Simon Evans Toyota Corolla S2000 38m36.8s
2) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla S2000 +51.9s
3) Darren Windus Subaru Impreza WRX +1:00.8
4) Dennis Dunlop Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +3:00.6
5) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +3:01.3
6) Steven Shepheard Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +3:02.0

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ALMOST EVANS AS BATES TAKES HOME WIN


Toyota's Neal Bates has won the opening heat of the Rally of Canberra, holding off fast-charging team-mate Simon Evans who came within 18 seconds of winning despite being more than one minute behind after the day's only service.

Canberra-based Bates was pleased to win on home soil and continue his run of good form that saw him secure victory in the season-opening event in Western Australia.

Evans lost more than one minute to Bates on the day's opening three stages when his S2000 Corolla sustained heavy frontal damage.

However, the reigning Australian champion put in a one of the best performances of his career to win the last six stages of the day and claw back more than 50 seconds on Bates to take third for the heat.

Second in Heat 1 was Evans' younger brother Eli who is running in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) field for this joint Australian Rally Championship (ARC)/APRC round.

Although he did not feature on the ARC timesheets throughout the day, his total time was enough to secure second for the heat.

Privateers Stewart Reid and Glen Raymond endured a tough afternoon in their Group N (P) Corollas with Reid stopping on Stage Six and Raymond slowing on the final two stages to eventually limp home sixth in Heat 1.

Simon Evans, Car #21 - S2000 Corolla:
"I am still disappointed but I'm just glad to get a podium from the day. If we have a good run tomorrow we can probably still win the rally, but we will take it as it comes. The Corolla was fantastic after this morning's service and did everything I wanted it to do. You find out what you are capable of in a situation like we had today and I'm just sorry we didn't quite get there. The car took a hiding but it was by far the best drive I have ever had in the S2000. We have been down before and come out of some pretty crazy scenarios, but it is nice to know we can fight back like that."

Neal Bates, Car#22 - S2000 Corolla:
"It was a really tight battle with Simon and Eli but it was good to come out with a win - especially at my home event. Simon was very quick after the guys repaired his car this morning but I am happy to take the win. The dust, especially on the last couple of stages was very thick and made driving at the limit very difficult and the roads were quite chopped up too, but some were better than others. First and third sets us up well heading into tomorrow's second heat."

Australian Rally Championship
Rally of Canberra
Heat 1 - Final Results:
1) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla S2000 1h13m00.5s
2) Eli Evans Subaru Impreza WRX +15.4
3) Simon Evans Toyota Corolla S2000 +18.0
4) Darren Windus Subaru Impreza WRX +40.6
5) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +41.0
6) Glen Raymond Toyota Corolla Group N (P) +4:13.5

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BATES LEADS TIGHT CAPITAL BATTLE


TRD Rally Team boss Neal Bates holds a slender lead following the opening three stages of the Rally of Canberra that saw plenty of drama for Australian Rally Championship (ARC) frontrunners including Toyota's own Simon Evans.

Championship leader Bates holds a 2.8s lead over Subaru's Darren Windus and is just over one minute ahead of team-mate Evans who sits fourth in the ARC component of the joint Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC)/ARC round.

Evans endured a tough start on the event's opening stage, sustaining heavy damage to the right-front of his S2000 Corolla, including the loss of power-steering.

The defending champion minimised his time losses and during the day's first service the TRD crew was able to repair his damaged Corolla putting Evans in a position to attack the afternoon's six stages.

Both Bates and Evans complained that the roads had begun to degrade at a faster rate than expected, and this, along with residual dust from the APRC cars running ahead of them has made life difficult for the ARC field.

Privateer Toyota drivers Glen Raymond and Stewart Reid have both had solid mornings and lie fifth and sixth in the ARC in their ex-TRD Group N (P) Corollas.

Simon Evans, Car #21 - S2000 Corolla:
"We sustained damage on Stage 1 but it was largely cosmetic - the Corolla held strong. The worst thing was that we lost power-steering so I am a little tired from driving. It just felt like there were massive weights on either side of the wheel. But all credit to the boys, they have repaired the car so we'll see what we can do this afternoon. It certainly isn't over yet so I need to weave some Evans magic."

Neal Bates, Car#22 - S2000 Corolla:
"It has been an incredibly tough morning. We haven't quite had the pace but we also haven't had any problems yet. We are leading by a small margin, though a few drivers have had problems. The roads are chopping up very easily which is also creating a lot of dust. Running behind the APRC field has also made conditions worse so we'll see what this afternoon brings."

Australian Rally Championship
Rally of Canberra
Heat 1 - Results after SS3:
1) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla S2000 40m05.4s
2) Darren Windus Subaru Impreza WRX +12.8
3) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +19.0
4) Simon Evans Toyota Corolla S2000 +1:00.9
5) Glen Raymond Toyota Corolla Group N (P) +1:05.6
6) Stewart Reid Toyota Corolla Group N (P) +1:25.7

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TRD DUO LEAD CANBERRA SHAKEDOWN


Australian Rally Championship (ARC) leader Neal Bates and defending champion Simon Evans have made the perfect start to the TRD Rally Team's home event in Canberra, setting the pace in this morning's shakedown.

Bates completed the 2.2 kilometre-long course on the outskirts of the nation's capital in 2m01s, just one second ahead of team-mate Evans in the first outing of the event that featured both ARC and Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) teams.

Although the combined ARC/APRC event will see teams from both series using the same stages over the weekend, neither will be able to take points from teams competing in the opposing series.

Toyota duo Bates and Evans put their S2000 Corollas to work over the testing shakedown course and outpaced ARC rivals Darren Windus, Michael Guest, Eli Evans and Glen Raymond in the final shootout before competition begins tomorrow.

Raymond, sporting a new paint scheme on his ex-TRD Group N (P) Corolla was happy to be on the pace and is looking forward to running against fellow Toyota privateer runner Stewart Reid who is making his first outing of the year in Canberra.

Mitsubishi's Katsu Taguchi was the fastest of the APRC contingent, equalling Bates' time of 2m01s and finishing in front of current series champion Cody Crocker and Scott Pedder.

Simon Evans, Car #21 - S2000 Corolla:
"This week we have certainly improved the car and it is getting better each time I drive it. The Corolla has a much nicer feel on the road thanks to some improvements we made to the suspension during testing on Tuesday. The braking performance is better as well but there is still more to be gained in all areas. The roads will chop up and make it really difficult over the course of the weekend so we will have to watch that. This car is better in all areas than the Group N (P) so it will handle Canberra's tight twisty stuff and flowing open roads really well."

Neal Bates, Car #22 - S2000 Corolla:
"The Corolla felt really good during shakedown. It was a little slippery on the first run but it handled fine after that. The course was quite rough in places but the car coped well with it which was a positive as it was indicative of what the roads will be like this weekend. We have spent this week working on making the car more user-friendly. By that I mean getting it to do what I want it to - turn in well with not a lot of oversteer."

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