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Rally of SA

  1. EVANS WINS DESPITE SPINS
  2. EVANS TAKES OVER AS RAIN SETS IN
  3. BATES OPENS EARLY LEAD
  4. STATUS QUO AT THE START OF HEAT 2
  5. TRD 1-2 AS EVANS CLAIMS HEAT
  6. EVANS BUILDS LEAD OVER BATES
  7. COROLLAS ON SONG IN THE RAIN
  8. EVANS PIPS BATES
  9. TRD DUO LEAD RALLY SA SHAKEDOWN

EVANS WINS DESPITE SPINS


TRD Rally's two-time and reigning Australian Rally Champion Simon Evans has secured outright victory in Rally SA despite spinning on Stage 17 and driving through torrential rain and hail during the event's final three stages.

Evans secured his first outright Australian Rally Championship victory behind the wheel of an S2000 Corolla when he beat home younger brother Eli and team-mate and championship leader, Neal Bates.

However, the rally's closing stages were not without drama.

Evans and Bates headed into the final three stages of Heat 2 in first and second, but the pair both spun on the same corner in the treacherous conditions, dropping time to the younger Evans.

The TRD pair then had to settle for second and third for the heat, earning Evans enough points for the outright win, whilst Bates consolidated his championship lead by also finishing third overall.

Team TRD now takes a well-deserved brake before heading to Tasmania in early October for the first all-tarmac rally in ARC history, the Tasmanian Tarmac Challenge on 4-5 October.

Simon Evans, Car #1 - Toyota Corolla S2000:
"That was a very hard win in really tough conditions. The weather on those last few stages was just incredible. Eli did an amazing job in the wet, so congratulations to him. We still have a little bit of work to do on out wet set-up, but we learnt a lot today. To come back from the crash in the last round and to win, driving the S2000 Corolla as hard as we did, in extremely slippery conditions is a real testament to the whole team."

Neal Bates, Car #2 - Toyota Corolla S2000:
"The bad weather really set in during the final three stages, but to score first and third in weather like that is great for the team. We took a great haul of points this weekend as well which consolidates our position in the championship, so although we lost a little ground this afternoon when we spun, we will leave South Australia pretty happy."

Australian Rally Championship
Rally South Australia
Heat 1 - Final Results (corrected):
1) Simon Evans Toyota Corolla S2000 1h03m6.8s
2) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla S2000 +40.7
3) Eli Evans Subaru Impreza WRX +1:20.9
4) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +2:19.4
5) Glen Raymond Toyota Corolla Group N (P) +2:21.6
6) Justin Dowel Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +3:38.8

Australian Rally Championship
Rally SA
Heat 2 - Final Results:
1) Eli Evans Subaru Impreza WRX 57m19.4s
2) Simon Evans Toyota Corolla S2000 +6.9
3) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla S2000 +17.7
4) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +56.0
5) Justin Dowel Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +3:00.3
6) Dennis Dunlop Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +3:43.4

Australian Rally Championship
Rally SA
Overall Results:
1) Simon Evans Toyota Corolla S2000
2) Eli Evans Subaru Impreza WRX
3) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla S2000
4) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO
5) Justin Dowel Mitsubishi Lancer EVO
6) Glen Raymond Toyota Corolla Group N (P)

Australian Rally Championship
Rally SA
Championship Standings:
1) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla S2000 - 283 points
2) Eli Evans Subaru Impreza WRX - 226
3) Simon Evans Toyota Corolla S2000 - 187
4) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO - 184
5) Michael Guest Subaru Impreza WRX - 123
6) Glen Raymond Toyota Corolla Group N (P) - 122

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EVANS TAKES OVER AS RAIN SETS IN


Heat 1 winner Simon Evans has overtaken Toyota team-mate Neal Bates and younger brother Eli Evans to move into the lead of Rally SA with three stages remaining in Heat 2.

The two-time Australian Rally Champion pushed his S2000 Corolla to the limit, aggressively launching over a number of large jumps in a bid to make up ground.

Evans, who left the morning service in third place, won Stage 16 and finished second on the testing 20.8 kilometre Eden High to gain a 4.8s lead over his brother's Subaru.

Bates dropped to third overall following the morning service, but has switched to softer tyres for the final three stages in a move he believes will bring him back on the pace.

The TRD Rally duo now head back into the forest for the final three stages of the event, but with a large storm front setting in, it will be a tough battle for Heat 2 and outright honours.

Simon Evans, Car #1 - Toyota Corolla S2000:
"It has been really challenging this afternoon, a bit slippery in spots and I have struggled to find grip. We are setting quick times and Eli did a really good time on Eden High, so it's close. There were some massive jumps in Mount Crawford. I didn't really attack them yesterday, but I got a lot of height today. We still have three stages to go, the last stage is a favourite of mine, but the other two are new so I am looking forward to seeing what we can achieve."

Neal Bates, Car #2 - Toyota Corolla S2000:
"We struggled on High Eden as we couldn't get enough temperature in the tyres due to the hard compound we ran. We will move to a softer tyre for the final three stages and as it is so close it will definitely be anyone's to win. We did reasonably well in the wet yesterday but the stages this afternoon are a lot different so anything could happen."

Australian Rally Championship
Rally SA
Heat 2 - Results after SS17/20:
1) Simon Evans Toyota Corolla S2000 34m21.0s
2) Eli Evans Subaru Impreza WRX +4.8
3) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla S2000 +6.5
4) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +40.7
5) Justin Dowel Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +1:53.6
6) Dennis Dunlop Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +2:21.7

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BATES OPENS EARLY LEAD


Australian Rally Championship leader Neal Bates has opened a slender lead over the field in his TRD Rally Corolla during the morning stages of Heat 2 of Rally SA.

Bates leads second placed Subaru driver Eli Evans by 2.1s, whilst team-mate Simon Evans sits third, 7.1s behind TRD boss Bates.

The Championship leader was happy with his morning's work and was assisted by a lack of overnight rain that improved conditions for the drivers.

Simon Evans made a slower than normal start as he spent the day's opening two stages adjusting to changes made to his brake set-up at the end of Heat 1.

However, the reigning Australian champion and Heat 1 winner set the fastest time on Stage 15 and is closing in on Bates and younger brother Eli.

Privateer Corolla driver Glen Raymond made a solid start and sat fifth this morning before a gearbox issue dropped him down the timesheets.

Crews now return to the forest for another two stages, including the event's signature stage, the daunting 20.8 kilometre-long, Eden High.

Simon Evans, Car #1 - Toyota Corolla S2000:
"We made a couple of changes to the brakes and it took me a while to adjust, but I am happy. I wasn't driving the car the way I should, although I sorted it out on the last stage. There is still a long way to go but I am back on the pace."

Neal Bates, Car #2 - Toyota Corolla S2000:
"We made a good tyre choice this morning, I enjoyed the stages and everything went well. The lead over Eli is small, and he is closer than he was yesterday which might be down to this morning's faster stages, but he is doing a good job. The road condition is good in general, although there is a high chance of rain that could change everything."

Australian Rally Championship
Rally SA
Heat 2 - Results after SS15/20:
1) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla S2000 16m09.2s
2) Eli Evans Subaru Impreza WRX +2.1
3) Simon Evans Toyota Corolla S2000 +7.1
4) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +26.8
5) Justin Dowel Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +1:03.5
6) Dennis Dunlop Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +1:05.5

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STATUS QUO AT THE START OF HEAT 2


Team TRD Rally's Simon Evans and Neal Bates have resumed their positions at the head of the Rally SA field, but the pair has reversed positions following the opening two stages with Bates holding a slender 0.2s lead over his team-mate.

Both Bates and Evans headed back to Angaston following Saturday afternoon's conclusion of Heat 1, repeating the two Super Special Stages they first ran on Friday night.

Bates and Evans started second-last and last in the reverse order run-off and were hampered by slippery conditions created when the early runners dragged gravel and dirt onto the 1.46 kilometre-long circuit.

However, the pair used the performance of their S2000 Corollas to great effect, each setting a fastest time on the opening two stages.

In a great night for Toyota, privateer Group N (P) Corolla driver Glen Raymond finished third overall, resulting in a Toyota trifecta at the head of the field.

Simon Evans, Car #1 - Toyota Corolla S2000:
"We again got through the Angaston stages with no problems and, as usual, it was a close battle with Neal. We ran clean and neat, although the road was slipperier tonight that on Friday night. The real action takes place tomorrow in the forest and we are well-placed to fight for our first outright win of 2008."

Neal Bates, Car #2 - Toyota Corolla S2000:
"I am happy to be in front but there was not a lot of grip out there due to all the dirt and gravel dragged onto the course by the early runners. It is great to see Glen Raymond in third so early in the heat and Toyota should be proud to be filling the top-three spots."

Australian Rally Championship
Rally South Australia
Heat 2 - Results after SS11/20:
1) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla S2000 2m27.0s
2) Simon Evans Toyota Corolla S2000 +0.2s
3) Glen Raymond Toyota Corolla Group N (P) +5.1s
4) Steven Shepheard Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +7.2
5) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +7.8
6) Eli Evans Subaru Impreza WRX +10.2

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TRD 1-2 AS EVANS CLAIMS HEAT


Reigning Australian Rally Champion Simon Evans secured his third heat win of the 2008 season and led a TRD Rally 1-2 following a measured drive in tricky conditions in Heat 1 of Rally SA.

Evans won all but one of the heat's 10 stages on the way to a comfortable 40.7s triumph from team-mate and championship leader Neal Bates.

Bates claimed the heat's other stage, to give TRD's S2000 Corollas a significant victory on a day dominated by the event's wet, slippery roads.

Bates' 40.2s gap to third placed Eli Evans extended his championship lead to 67 points ahead of the Subaru pilot.

Privateer Toyota runner Glen Raymond ended a heat-long battle with Spencer Lowndes tied for fourth position - a career-best result for the Victorian Group N (P) Corolla driver.

Simon Evans, Car #1 - Toyota Corolla S2000:
"Today's result is great and to move into fourth in the championship is another step to rectifying the tough start we have had to this season. The only thing I can control is how fast I drive the car, and at the moment I am driving really fast and things are looking good. The conditions were really tough today and all I could do was drive smart. The weather made it extremely tricky, but the Corolla was great under brakes by the end and it performed superbly. It's a great result for the whole team."

Neal Bates, Car #2 - Toyota Corolla S2000:
"We couldn't be happier with today. Simon and Sue had a great win and I was happy to play second fiddle as we extended our championship lead. It was very tough today, so in those conditions to have a 1-2 was rewarding. There were a couple of stages where it felt like the S2000 struggled a little, but the car won every stage of the heat so it clearly performed well in the difficult conditions. There are stages tomorrow that initially I thought would not suit the car, but after today, we might be in for a surprise."

Glen Raymond, Car #7 - Toyota Corolla Group N (P):
"It was great to score a career-best finish today and to also be one of three Toyotas in the top-four. We are really getting to know this car after three events and we are hoping to continue our good form in Heat 2."

Australian Rally Championship
Rally South Australia
Heat 1 - Final Results:
1) Simon Evans Toyota Corolla S2000 1h03m6.8s
2) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla S2000 +40.7
3) Eli Evans Subaru Impreza WRX +1:20.9
4) Glen Raymond Toyota Corolla Group N (P) +2:21.2
=4) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +2:21.2
6) Justin Dowel Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +3:38.8

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EVANS BUILDS LEAD OVER BATES


TRD Rally's Simon Evans has built a 19.9s lead over team-mate and championship leader, Neal Bates heading into the final three stages of Heat 1 of Rally SA.

Evans and Bates again tested their S2000 Corollas in the wet conditions, trading fastest stage times as Bates won stage five and Evans stages six and seven.

Evans, despite extending his lead, as been troubled by a brake imbalance similar to the one he experienced during last night's Super Special Stages in Angaston.

Bates is happy to have consolidated his second place and now lies 26.7s ahead of his Eli Evans in third.

Young gun Glen Raymond continues to hold down fourth place in his ex-TRD Group N (P) Corolla and has opened a 6.7s gap to the Mitsubishi of Spencer Lowndes.

Simon Evans, Car #1 - Toyota Corolla S2000:
"It's great that we are leading, but I am having a small problem with the rear brakes. I think because it is so wet and tricky, I am braking differently, but the crew have a fix so it should be ok now. Otherwise, the Corolla is brilliant given it has been raining on and off and there is a lot of standing water. Our lead is fantastic, so we'll just keep doing what the same thing."

Neal Bates, Car #2 - Toyota Corolla S2000:
"The last couple of stages were quite slippery, but the rain has pretty much stopped so it should dry out a little this afternoon. I am happy with the car's handling and we are being a little bit careful, but we are in a great position so I don't want to do anything that will jeopardise that."

Australian Rally Championship
Rally South Australia
Heat 1 - Results after SS7:
1) Simon Evans Toyota Corolla S2000 40:54.5
2) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla S2000 +19.9
3) Eli Evans Subaru Impreza WRX +46.8
4) Glen Raymond Toyota Corolla Group N (P) +1:34.1
5) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +1:40.8
6) Justin Dowel Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +2:15.7

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COROLLAS ON SONG IN THE RAIN


Toyota's Simon Evans and Neal Bates have extended their lead at the head of the field following a rain-soaked third and fourth stage of Rally SA, with defending event champion Evans opening a 12.8s lead to team-mate Bates.

Overnight rain and a heavy shower during stage four significantly reduced visibility for the field, but TRD Rally's S2000 Corollas excelled in the slippery conditions, with Subaru's Eli Evans the nearest challenger, more than 30s adrift in third.

Evans gained 7.1s on the morning's first stage and another 5.6s on the second over championship leader Bates.

The TRD duo both said the rain significantly reduced visibility and the slippery conditions claimed Subaru driver Michael Guest who made contact with a tree during the downpour on stage four.

Toyota Privateer Glen Raymond has been steady in the wet conditions and has moved to fourth overall in his ex-TRD Group N (P) Corolla following the retirements of Guest and Ford's Darren Windus.

Simon Evans, Car #1 - Toyota Corolla S2000:
"We had a great run this morning in what were very tough conditions. It was slippery in some sections, but there was quite a lot grip in others so we had to drive smart. We attacked the first stage and while the second stage was hard work, we still have a lot in reserve. We are driving accordingly and it is great to set the fastest times given we are driving within ourselves."

Neal Bates, Car #2 - Toyota Corolla S2000:
"It has been a good morning. The conditions are quite tricky and the rain was so heavy that vision was incredibly poor. It has been a tough morning but both Corollas have been very fast so the entire team is happy. But it is still incredibly slippery so we will have to concentrate hard for the rest of the day."

Australian Rally Championship
Rally South Australia
Heat 1 - Results after SS4:
1) Simon Evans Toyota Corolla S2000 19:34.7
2) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla S2000 +12.8
3) Eli Evans Subaru Impreza WRX +30.9
4) Glen Raymond Toyota Corolla Group N (P) +54.5
5) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +1:03.5
6) Justin Dowel Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +1:14.8

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EVANS PIPS BATES


Team TRD Rally's Simon Evans has opened the smallest possible lead over team-mate Neal Bates following the opening two stages of Rally SA, taking a 0.1s advantage from Friday night's pair of Super Special Stages at Angaston in the Barossa Valley.

Evans set the fastest time from Bates by 0.1s over the first run at Angaston, before the TRD pair set identical times around the 1.46 kilometre on their second pass.

In front of a large, vocal crowd, the two S2000 Corollas were the last to run and entertained the crowd with the night's fastest times and close racing.

Reigning champion Evans was pleased to get through the two stages without incident, although his first run was hampered slightly due to a brake balance issue.

Bates' first run was also not perfect, but the three-time champion bounced back to set the same time as his team-mate and is well-placed heading into the forest.

Heat 1 resumes tomorrow morning in the Mount Crawford State Forest, before crews return to Angaston on Saturday night for the start of Heat 2.

Simon Evans, Car #1 - Toyota Corolla S2000:
"On the first run the brake temperature was very low due to the cold ambient temperature and I also had too much rear bias, so I was fighting the car a lot. I adjusted the bias for our second attempt and we had a good, clean run. My aim was just to make sure I was in touch with the top times and just be clean and neat with no mistakes."

Neal Bates, Car #2 - Toyota Corolla S2000:
"The Angaston stage is much trickier than it looks and I am happy to have come through it as well as I did. Simon set a great time on both runs, but I am right behind him so I have no concerns. I made a small error on the first run, but the real test will be when we head into the forest."

Australian Rally Championship
Rally South Australia
Heat 1 - Results after SS2:
1) Simon Evans Toyota Corolla S2000 2m27.3s
2) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla S2000 +0.1
3) Eli Evans Subaru Impreza WRX +1.7
4) Michael Guest Subaru Impreza WRX +2.6
5) Glen Raymond Toyota Corolla Group N (P) +6.8
6) Darren Windus Ford Fiesta S2000 +8.2

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TRD DUO LEAD RALLY SA SHAKEDOWN


Toyota's reigning Australian Rally Champion Simon Evans and championship leader Neal Bates topped the times this morning during shakedown for the Rally of South Australia that gets underway tonight with two Super Special Stages at Angaston in the Barossa Valley.

Evans and his co-driver and wife, Sue and Bates and co-driver Coral Taylor were inseparable around the 3.2-kilometre shakedown stage in the forest near Mount Pleasant - both setting a time of 1m36s.

The TRD Rally duo were one second faster than the Subaru of Simon's younger brother Eli, and three seconds clear of rivals Michael Guest, Spencer Lowndes and Darren Windus.

Evans and Bates were pleased with the speed of their S2000 Corollas and both stated their morning pace reaffirmed the progress made during the team's test day on Tuesday.

Australian rallying stalwart and former national champion, Ed Ordynski is making a guest appearance this weekend driving the Zero Car that runs ahead of the field on each stage to check the roads are ready for competition cars.

South Australia's Ordynski will be driving the Group N (P) Corolla that Simon Evans drove to victory in the last two Australian Rally Championships.

Simon Evans, Car #1 - Toyota Corolla S2000:
"Shakedown went really well. It confirmed everything that we did in testing was correct. As we are the first car on every stage we will be sweeping the gravel off the roads, so we purposely went out first this morning and found the set-up of the Corolla was the right one - I am pleased. However, it is going to be a long rally. The new stages are great and everything is fast and flowing and it will put a lot more pressure on the co-drivers. We have to do everything right the first time as we don't get a second shot at any of the stages."

Neal Bates, Car #2 - Toyota Corolla S2000:
"The car felt great during shakedown this morning. There are a lot of new stages in the event this year and after covering them all in reconnaissance it is clear the event will be faster and feature more crests. The roads are in good shape and although we only run over the stages once this year, the roads here cope better than most so I doubt they will deteriorate much."

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