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Rally of QLD

  1. BATES TAKES QUEENSLAND THRILLER
  2. TRD LEADS INTO FINAL THREE
  3. BATES OPENS EARLY LEAD
  4. BATES WINS DRAMA-FILLED HEAT
  5. EVANS DUO RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL
  6. SIMON AND SUE EVANS UPDATE
  7. EVANS DELIVERS BIRTHDAY PROMISE
  8. RAPID START TO TRD'S RUN IN THE SUN

BATES TAKES QUEENSLAND THRILLER


Team TRD Rally boss Neal Bates has secured his third consecutive outright win in the 2008 Australian Rally Championship (ARC) following a dramatic win at Rally Queensland that was only decided after the final stage by the bonus point for most stage wins.

Bates held a 9.9s lead over the Subaru of nearest rival Eli Evans heading into the event's final two stages, only to suffer a puncture on the penultimate stage of the rally.

The three-time Australian champion dropped more than 40s and fell to third for the heat, elevating Evans to the lead and fellow Subaru driver Michael Guest to second.

Heading into the final stage, the 35 kilometre-long, torturous and aptly named, Phat Lady, Evans needed only to set the fastest time to take his first ARC outright win.

However, Guest prevailed and prevented the younger brother of Toyota's two-time champion, Simon Evans from snatching the bonus point that went to Bates, breaking the deadlock between the pair and giving the Toyota driver the overall win.

Young Toyota privateer Glen Raymond finished fifth for Heat 2 in his Group N (P) Corolla, a position he inherited on the final stage from fellow Toyota driver Stewart Reid who unfortunately failed to complete the final section of his home event.

The ARC takes a short break before returning in South Australia for round three of the championship, the Rally SA on 26-27 July.

Neal Bates, Car #2 - Toyota Corolla S2000:
"We have had a dream year so far and I couldn't be happier with the result. Eli (Evans) and (Michael) Guest drove incredibly well and in the end it was a very tense finish. A lot of people thought we had it in the bag with three stages to go, but we had a puncture and all of a sudden we were in strife. We kept pushing and recovered and thankfully got away with it. It was so close that Coral and I weren't even sure we had won, so it was a nice surprise when we found out. Queensland is the roughest rally in the championship and our Corolla was just so strong. It handled jumps, rocky creek beds and some roads that were so hard they cracked the windscreen. It is also a testament to the Corolla that Simon and Sue suffered nothing more than a few bruises from what was a very big accident yesterday. Overall it was a very tough weekend on a lot of levels and this result is just reward for the team's efforts."

Australian Rally Championship
Rally Queensland
Heat 1 - Final Results:
1) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla S2000 1h14m43.7s
2) Michael Guest Subaru Impreza WRX +1m07.8s
3) Eli Evans Subaru Impreza WRX +1m20.9s
4) Stewart Reid Toyota Corolla Group N (P) +1m46.8s
5) Nathan Quinn Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +2m15.8s
6) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +2m30.9s

Australian Rally Championship
Rally Queensland
Heat 2 - Final Results:
1) Eli Evans Subaru Impreza WRX 1h12m34.4s
2) Michael Guest Subaru Impreza WRX +18.7s
3) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla S2000 +38.2s
4) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +53.8s
5) Glen Raymond Toyota Corolla Group N (P) +1m37.2s
6) Nathan Quinn, Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +2m08.2s

Australian Rally Championship
Rally Queensland
Overall Results:
1) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla S2000
2) Eli Evans Subaru Impreza WRX
3) Michael Guest Subaru Impreza WRX
4) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO
5) Nathan Quinn Mitsubishi Lancer EVO
=6) Glen Raymond Toyota Group N (P) Corolla
=6) Ryan Smart Mitsubishi Lancer EVO

Australian Rally Championship
Championship Points after Round 3:
1) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla S2000 - 219 points
2) Eli Evans Subaru Impreza WRX - 156
3) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO - 132
4) Michael Guest Subaru Impreza WRX - 123
5) Simon Evans Toyota Corolla S2000 - 112
6) Darren Windus Ford Fiesta S2000 - 96

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TRD LEADS INTO FINAL THREE


Toyota Racing Development's (TRD) Neal Bates has slightly extended his Heat 2 lead in the Rally Queensland heading into the event's final three stages, but with 10.4s covering the top-three, the scene is set for an exciting finish.

Bates finished second in the afternoon's first stage and then won the next and leads the Subaru duo of Eli Evans and Michael Guest by 6.9s and 10.4s respectively.

The battle is also on for the event's bonus point that is awarded to the driver with the most stage wins across the two heats.

Bates currently has five stages to his name and Evans four with three to go.

The heat-long battle between the privateer Toyotas of Stewart Reid and Glen Raymond has swung in favour of Reid who has opened up a 6.7s lead over his fellow Group N (P) Corolla driver.

Although still a little stiff from their Heat 1 accident, reigning Australian Champions Simon and Sue Evans have arrived in the service park to cheer on team-mates Neal Bates and Coral Taylor.

Neal Bates, Car #2 - Toyota Corolla S2000:
"That run was a little similar to this morning's in that we were a little slower on the first stage but picked up time on the second. The last stage today is a rerun of yesterday's final stage where we were pretty quick. But that is also where Eli punctured so he is going to be somewhat of an unknown quantity. Michael Guest isn't that far behind either so it is going to be an exciting finish."

Australian Rally Championship
Rally Queensland
Heat 2 - Results after SS15:
1) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla S2000 38m40.9s
2) Eli Evans Subaru Impreza WRX +6.9
3) Michael Guest Subaru Impreza WRX +10.4
4) Stewart Reid Toyota Corolla Group N (P) +34.7
5) Glen Raymond Toyota Corolla Group N (P) +45.7
6) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +52.4

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BATES OPENS EARLY LEAD


Toyota's Neal Bates has opened a slender 4.4s lead over the Subaru of Eli Evans following the opening three stages of Heat 2 of the Rally Queensland.

Fresh from his come-from-behind win in Saturday's Heat 1, championship leader Bates sat almost eight seconds behind early leader Evans at the end of the day's first stage, but by the morning service he had erased the deficit to take the Heat 2 lead.

Bates and co-driver Coral Taylor were pleased with the pace of their S2000 Corolla and have now headed back into the forest for two long stages ahead of the rally's final service this afternoon.

Privateer Toyota drivers Stewart Reid and Glen Raymond are locked in a tight battle for fourth place, with the more experienced Reid just 0.2s faster than Raymond after three stages.

Reigning Australian Champions Simon and Sue Evans are recovering well from yesterday's rally-ending accident and despite being a little sore, both intend to be back in the service park for the end of Heat 2.

Neal Bates, Car #2 - Toyota Corolla S2000:
"For some reason I find today's first stage incredibly difficult, but we went very well in the second stage so it is good to be back in the lead. Although there is a long way to go, it's very good for the championship to have four different types of car in the top-six. The next stages are a reverse of yesterday so it will be an interesting challenge."

Australian Rally Championship
Rally Queensland
Heat 2 - Results after SS13:
1) Neal Bates, Toyota Corolla S2000 21m23.2s
2) Eli Evans Subaru Impreza WRX +4.4s
3) Michael Guest Subaru Impreza WRX +8.6
4) Stewart Reid Toyota Corolla Group N (P) +23.2
5) Glen Raymond Toyota Corolla Group N (P) +23.4
6) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +28.9

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BATES WINS DRAMA-FILLED HEAT


TRD Rally boss Neal Bates claimed his third heat win of the season in dramatic fashion when he won a tight battle with Eli Evans in a Subaru during Heat 1 of the Rally Queensland.

Bates sat just 3.5s behind the younger brother of team-mate Simon heading into the last stage, only to overhaul the deficit by stage end, extending his championship lead and helping the S2000 Corolla to its fifth-consecutive heat win.

However, the three-time champion was lucky to even finish as he had an alternator problem halfway through the last stage.

Eli Evans dropped time during the final stage and eventually finished third for the heat behind fellow Subaru driver Michael Guest who put in a solid performance to claw back to second after sitting outside the top-five early in the day.

As reported earlier, Simon and Sue Evans have been discharged from hospital following their accident on stage seven and despite being sore, both are in good spirits.

Despite their retirement, privateer Toyota pilot Stewart Reid put in a strong performance to finish a well-deserved fourth place in his ex-TRD Group N (P) Corolla.

Heat 2 resumes tomorrow morning with eight stages in and around the Imbil State Forest.

Neal Bates, Car #2 - Toyota Corolla S2000:
"Firstly, it's excellent news that Simon and Sue are ok. That is the most important thing. We were fortunate to get to the finish as we had a problem with the alternator for the last 15 kilometres, but we got in and we will fix it, but the car was superb and just handled brilliantly. This morning we had a small problem with the handbrake but this afternoon everything just gelled. I felt much better when I knew Simon and Sue were going to be ok and although I put it out of my mind for the last couple of stages, we are all just really happy that they are ok."

Simon Evans, Car #1 - Toyota Corolla S2000:
"We were driving through the stage and it didn't feel like we were pushing too hard, but we just got caught out over a crest, ran wide and ended up in a creek some way off the road. Once the car came to rest and we realised we were ok, we both climbed from the car which was on its side.

"Initially we were high on adrenalin, but after a few minutes we were both a bit sore so we stopped the next car which was Spencer Lowndes and got him to call the FIV (medical vehicle). The medical crew from Motorsport Rescue were just fantastic. Once they got on site they took over and looked after us.

"We are both ok, just battered and bruised and looking forward to some rest and to feeling normal again. Sue and I would like to thank the FIV crew for their excellent work, as well as the ambulance crew and the staff at Nambour Hospital. Everyone that assisted us was fantastic, especially the rally crews including Spencer Lowndes and his co-driver Chris Randell who helped us straight after the accident. Chris was awesome with Sue, he knew exactly that to do and Spencer made sure I was ok. So a big thank-you to both of them."

Australian Rally Championship
Rally Queensland
Heat 1 - Final Results:
1) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla S2000 1h14m43.7s
2) Michael Guest, Subaru Impreza WRX +1m07.8s
3) Eli Evans, Subaru Impreza WRX +1m20.0s
4) Stewart Reid Toyota Corolla Group N (P) +1m46.8s
5) Nathan Quinn Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +2m15.8
6) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +2m30.9s

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EVANS DUO RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL


Reigning Australian Rally Champions Simon and Sue Evans have been released from hospital after their car left the road at high-speed during stage seven of the Rally Queensland.

The husband and wife team were attended to at the scene by a first intervention medical crew (FIV), before being transferred by ambulance to Nambour Hospital for precautionary checks.

Sue Evans complained of back and neck pain following the incident, but scans at the hospital cleared her of any serious injury.

Husband Simon sustained a double-dislocation to the big toe on his right foot, but doctors put it back into place and he was able to walk from the hospital unaided.

Despite being a little sore and bruised, the pair left the hospital in good spirits and looked forward to a restful night.

Simon Evans, Car #1 - Toyota Corolla S2000:
"We were driving through the stage and it didn't feel like we were pushing too hard, but we just got caught out over a crest, ran wide and ended up in a creek some way off the road. Once the car came to rest and we realised we were ok, we both climbed from the car which was on its side.

"Initially we were high on adrenalin, but after a few minutes we were both a bit sore so we stopped the next car which was Spencer Lowndes and got him to call the FIV (medical vehicle). The medical crew from Motorsport Rescue were just fantastic. Once they got on site they took over and looked after us.

"We are both ok, just battered and bruised and looking forward to some rest and to feeling normal again. Sue and I would like to thank the FIV crew for their excellent work, as well as the ambulance crew and the staff at Nambour Hospital. Everyone that assisted us was fantastic, especially the rally crews including Spencer Lowndes and his co-driver Chris Randell who helped us straight after the accident. Chris was awesome with Sue, he knew exactly that to do and Spencer made sure I was ok. So a big thank-you to both of them."

For more information contact:
Todd Connolly
Motorsport manager
0438 249 808

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SIMON AND SUE EVANS UPDATE


Reigning Australian Rally Champions Simon and Sue Evans have been taken to hospital for precautionary checks after their car left the road on stage seven of the Rally Queensland.

Simon and Sue Evans were treated on scene by the first intervention medical vehicle (FIV), before being transported to hospital by ambulance for precautionary checks.

Sue Evans complained of neck and back pain and Simon Evans of a sore foot.

More information will follow as it becomes available.

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EVANS DELIVERS BIRTHDAY PROMISE


TRD Rally's Simon Evans has delivered on his pre-event birthday promise to co-driver and wife, Sue, taking out the opening two Super Special Stages of Rally Queensland tonight at a rain-soaked Nambour Showgrounds on the Sunshine Coast.

Evans won both runs around the Nambour oval and the S2000 Corollas of he and team-mate Neal Bates were the only two cars to break 41 seconds.

The track was slower than expected due to heavy late afternoon rain, but both Toyota drivers enjoyed the fast stage that paired two cars together on either side of the oval in a head-to-head format, something that drew strong support from the bumper crowd.

Evans was happy to give Sue - who is celebrating her birthday today - a win and to open a slender 0.7s lead from team-mate Bates.

Championship leader Bates was pleased with his trouble-free start and is looking forward to tomorrow's forest stages.

Local privateer Stewart Reid put in one of the more spectacular runs of the night in his ex-TRD Group N (P) Corolla and sits fifth overall, just 2.2s behind leader Evans.

Simon Evans, Car #1 - S2000 Corolla:
"It was good to win both stages tonight. But I promised to do it for Sue's birthday so I couldn't break my promise. The Nambour track was in great condition and the Corolla was fantastic. Tonight was another step on from testing and it just goes to show that with a little bit of confidence in the car you can get it to do what you want."

Neal Bates, Car #2 - S2000 Corolla:
"We had no dramas at all tonight. Although we had a lot of rain this afternoon in Nambour and on the coast, I don't think there has been rain at Imbil so it won't have changed the roads since recce. We are just looking forward to getting into the forest tomorrow."

Australian Rally Championship
Rally Queensland
Heat 1 - Results after SS2:
1) Simon Evans, Toyota Corolla S2000 1m21.2s
2) Neal Bates, Toyota Corolla S2000 +0.7s
3) Eli Evans, Subaru Impreza WRX +1.7
=3) Darren Windus, Ford Fiesta S2000 +1.7
5) Stewart Reid, Toyota Corolla Group N (P) +2.2
6) Brett Kipling, Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +2.5

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RAPID START TO TRD'S RUN IN THE SUN


Team TRD Rally duo Simon Evans and Neal Bates are well placed for this weekend's Rally Queensland after completing an extensive test session on Tuesday and setting the two fastest times at this morning's shakedown in their S2000 Corollas.

Reigning champion Evans and current championship leader Bates made the most of the dry conditions at the tight Nambour Showgrounds shakedown course where the opening two stages of Heat 1 will be held tonight.

Following their Tuesday test, both drivers commented that recent heavy rains have improved the roads and increased grip levels, but warned that the slightest amount of rain would make the conditions extremely challenging.

Evans spent a lot of time working on the set-up of his S2000 Corolla at testing and hopes to end his bad run of luck this weekend.

Bates, who is the master of the Super Special Stage is looking forward to tonight's opening runs and is firmly set on maintaining his championship lead.

The two TRD S2000 Corollas will again be joined by the Group N (P) Corollas of Glen Raymond and local favourite Stewart Reid who is making a welcome return to his home event after a two year break.

The 40th Rally Queensland kicks off tonight in Nambour with two passes of the 860 metre gravel Super Special Stage, before heading into the forests inland of the Sunshine Coast at Imbil for the remainder of Heat 1 and Sunday's Heat 2.

Simon Evans, Car #1 - S2000 Corolla:
"Testing was fantastic as I spent a lot of time in the car, covered a lot of kilometres and solved a few little problems I had. I've got the car handling in a parameter closer to my liking and it was a great test road, it was very indicative of the roads in the event and the car performed like magic. Rain has settled the roads down a lot. There is more grip available in most places, but there is still a bit of water in the lower lying areas, but that's good as it makes for changing conditions, which I like. You have to drive pretty smart to get through this event. It will be a good night in Nambour tonight and as it is Sue's birthday today we'll see if we can get a win."

Neal Bates, Car #2 - S2000 Corolla:
"We had a very good test session the other day and made some adjustments to the car that I believe will bring improvement, so all-in-all our preparation has been really good. We had shakedown in Nambour this morning to see if everything was ok and we were really happy. If it doesn't rain any more the roads are in superb condition, but if it does then it will become very challenging. But to be honest I have never seen the roads in better condition so it should be a very fast event."

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