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2003 NGK Rally of Melbourne

  1. SS17 (Mt Slide 2), SS18 (De Bortoli Super Special 2)
  2. SS14 (Kalatha 4), SS15 (Blowhard 4), SS16 (De Bortoli Super Special 1)
  3. SS11 (Mt Slide 1), SS12 (Kalatha 3), SS13 (Blowhard 3)
  4. SS9 (Kalatha 2), SS10 (Blowhard 2)
  5. SS6 (Ben Cairn 2), SS7 (Acheron Way 2), SS8 (Plantation 2)
  6. SS3 (Ben Cairn 1), SS4 (Acheron Way 1), SS5 (Plantation 1)
  7. SS1 (Kalatha 1), SS2 (Blowhard 1)
  8. SHAKEDOWN
  9. TESTING GIVES BATES CONFIDENCE FOR MELBOURNE

SS17 (Mt Slide 2), SS18 (De Bortoli Super Special 2)


Toyota Team Racing driver Neal Bates finished the NGK Rally of Melbourne on a high by setting the second-fastest time in the final stage of the event, the De Bortoli Super Special Stage.
The Toyota Corolla Sportivo driver continued his excellent 2003 form in super specials.

There have been eight of the spectator-friendly super special stages this year and Bates has finished all of them in the top three, including four in P1.

Earlier today at the popular De Bortoli super special, Bates had been third-fastest and he carved a further 1.3 seconds off that time on the second run.

Out in the forest stages, however, the TTR team struggled for traction and Bates finished the weekend in seventh place outright.

Twin brother Rick in the second TTR Corolla battled various transmission gremlins to finish the weekend in 10th place.

"It was a lot of fun to finish the weekend with some competitive times in the two super specials, especially in front of the big crowd at the winery," said Bates at the finish.

“In fact, I really enjoyed the whole weekend. The roads were good, we drove flat out the whole time and had a ball – we just weren’t fast enough.

“We were much, much closer to the pace this weekend, but the competition now is really close and the reliability at this event was incredible – any other weekend we would have picked up a few bonus places.

“What we really need now to get on terms with the other guys is new final drive gearing, a bit more power and better turn-in, which we’re working on.”

Local hero Simon Evans celebrated his first Australian Rally Championship round victory in the Rally of Melbourne from fellow Melbourne privateer Scott Pedder.

Championship contenders Cody Crocker and Ed Ordynski held their positions after scoring equal points in Melbourne and will therefore take the national title down to the final round in Tasmania on November 15-16.




Times after SS18, De Bortoli Super Special 2 - Final
















































Pos.
No.
Driver
Vehicle
Overall Time
1
6
Scott Pedder/Paul Humm
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
1:05:04.3
=1
10
Simon Evans/Sue Evans
Dr
Subaru
Dr
1:04:04.3
3
17
Juha Kangas/Julia Rabbett
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
1:05:08.3
4
4
Ed Ordynski/Iain Stewart
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
1:05:10.1
5
1
Cody Crocker/Greg Foletta
Dr
Subaru
Dr
1:05:21.1
6
5
Spencer Lowndes/Chris Randell
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
1:05:23.5
7
7
Neal Bates/Coral Taylor
Dr
Toyota Corolla Sportivo
Dr
1:05:56.3
8
3
Dean Herridge/Glenn MacNeall
Dr
Subaru
Dr
1:06:20.2
9
26
Brad Goldsborough/Dale Moscatt
Dr
subaru
Dr
1:06:47.3
10
26
Brad Goldsborough/Dale Moscatt
Dr
subaru
Dr
1:07:24.9
11
8
Rick Bates/Damien Long
Dr
Toyota Corolla Sportivo
Dr
1:07:25.2

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SS14 (Kalatha 4), SS15 (Blowhard 4), SS16 (De Bortoli Super Special 1)


Toyota Team Racing driver Neal Bates has continued his love affair with Super Special Stages by claiming his best result of the weekend in the NGK Rally of Melbourne, setting the third-fastest time on the De Bortoli Super Special stage.
Bates, driving the TTR Toyota Corolla Sportivo, finished just 1.3 seconds behind privateer Juha Kangas in front of a large crowd of spectators at the popular winery.

The triple national champion has been consistently fast on the spectator-friendly super special stages throughout the 2003 Australian Rally Championship.

He has one more chance for another crowd-pleasing performance later this afternoon with a return visit to De Bortoli to wrap up the event.

Bates is running in seventh place overall, three places ahead of twin brother and teammate Rick.

Local hero Simon Evans is on track to score his first ARC round victory, holding onto a narrow lead going into the final two stages.




Times after SS16, De Bortoli Super Special 1











































Pos.
No.
Driver
Vehicle
Overall Time
1
10
Simon Evans/Sue Evans
Dr
Subaru
Dr
57:20.1
2
6
Scott Pedder/Paul Humm
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
57:26.1
3
17
Juha Kangas/Julia Rabbett
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
57:29.5
4
4
Ed Ordynski/Iain Stewart
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
57:30.1
5
1
Cody Crocker/Greg Foletta
Dr
Subaru
Dr
57:42.3
6
5
Spencer Lowndes/Chris Randell
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
57:44.8
7
7
Neal Bates/Coral Taylor
Dr
Toyota Corolla Sportivo
Dr
58:15.0
8
3
Dean Herridge/Glenn MacNeall
Dr
Subaru
Dr
58:34.8
9
26
Brad Goldsborough/Dale Moscatt
Dr
subaru
Dr
59:00.5
10
8
Rick Bates/Damien Long
Dr
Toyota Corolla Sportivo
Dr
59:31.1

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SS11 (Mt Slide 1), SS12 (Kalatha 3), SS13 (Blowhard 3)


A change of tyres and an improvement in the weather conditions has seen Toyota Team Racing driver Neal Bates move up the order in Heat Two of the NGK Rally of Melbourne this morning.
Bates improved three places on the three pre-lunch stages after switching to BFGoodrich tyres with a more open tread pattern compared to those he used on the first two stages this morning.

Slightly warmer road conditions in the forest have also helped TTR’s cause and Bates is hoping for a further improvement in the final five special stages this afternoon.

Bates is now running in seventh place while twin brother Rick is 11th in TTR’s second Toyota Corolla Sportivo Group N (Prototype).

Local privateers Simon Evans and Scott Pedder have been putting on a crowd-pleasing battle for their home crowd at the head of the field.

The Rally of Melbourne – the penultimate round of the 2003 Australian Rally Championship – concludes with a Super Special Stage at the De Bortoli Winery this afternoon.




Times after SS13, Blowhard 3
























































Pos.
No.
Driver
Vehicle
Overall Time
1
10
Simon Evans/Sue Evans
Dr
Subaru
Dr
37:34.9
2
6
Scott Pedder/Paul Humm
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
37:39.8
3
4
Ed Ordynski/Iain Stewart
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
37:49.5
4
17
Juha Kangas/Julia Rabbett
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
37:54.5
5
1
Cody Crocker/Greg Foletta
Dr
Subaru
Dr
16:59.2
6
5
Spencer Lowndes/Chris Randell
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
38:05.2
7
7
Neal Bates/Coral Taylor
Dr
Toyota Corolla Sportivo
Dr
38:26.4
8
3
Dean Herridge/Glenn MacNeall
Dr
Subaru
Dr
38:35.7
9
26
Brad Goldsborough/Dale Moscatt
Dr
subaru
Dr
38:54.3
10
11
Mark Pedder/Toni Feaver
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
39:03.5
11
8
Rick Bates/Damien Long
Dr
Toyota Corolla Sportivo
Dr
39:18.5

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SS9 (Kalatha 2), SS10 (Blowhard 2)


Tyres are the main topic of conversation at Toyota Team Racing this morning as Heat Two of the NGK Rally of Melbourne gets underway.
After enjoying a slight tyre advantage yesterday afternoon with their BFGoodrich rubber in dry, warm conditions, the team is today faced with cold and slippery roads in the heart of the Yarra Valley forest.

"We simply don’t have a tyre that’s soft enough for these conditions so we are way down on traction," said TTR driver Neal Bates after the first two special stages.

“Those stages repeat throughout the day and there’s not much prospect of the conditions improving, so it could be a long day for us.

“We’ll try cutting an extra groove in the tyres, which might give us a little more grip.”

Neal finished the first two stages in 10th place overall while twin brother Rick was 13th in the second TTR Toyota Corolla Sportivo.

Rick had a high-speed spin when the car jumped out of fourth gear and luckily avoided damaging the car, but lost a couple of places.




Times after SS10, Blowhard 2



















































Pos.
No.
Driver
Vehicle
Overall Time
1
10
Simon Evans/Sue Evans
Dr
Subaru
Dr
16:39.1
2
6
Scott Pedder/Paul Humm
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
16:41.7
3
4
Ed Ordynski/Iain Stewart
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
16:44.8
4
23
Will Orders/Matt McAdam
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
16:52.3
5
17
Juha Kangas/Julia Rabbett
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
16:57.9
6
1
Cody Crocker/Greg Foletta
Dr
Subaru
Dr
16:59.2
7
5
Spencer Lowndes/Chris Randell
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
17:02.9
8
3
Dean Herridge/Glenn MacNeall
Dr
Subaru
Dr
17:05.6
9
26
Brad Goldsborough/Dale Moscatt
Dr
subaru
Dr
17:12.2
10
7
Neal Bates/Coral Taylor
Dr
Toyota Corolla Sportivo
Dr
17:13.5
13
8
Rick Bates/Damien Long
Dr
Toyota Corolla Sportivo
Dr
17:35.3

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SS6 (Ben Cairn 2), SS7 (Acheron Way 2), SS8 (Plantation 2)


Toyota Team Racing driver Neal Bates enjoyed his most competitive afternoon of the season in today’s Heat One of the NGK Rally of Melbourne.
The triple national champion finished fifth and fourth on the final two special stages, but fell just 2.7 seconds shy of catching Spencer Lowndes for sixth.

Bates lost just 16.1 seconds to Australian Rally Championship leader Cody Crocker over the final five stages, thanks largely to the performance of the team’s BFGoodrich tyres on the drying Yarra Valley gravel roads.

The fastest driver over the final five stages was Juha Kangas, who also uses BFGoodrich tyres. He was 1.3seconds faster than Crocker over those final 75 kilometres.

On the slippery roads this morning, however, the BFG runners did not have a suitable tyre for the conditions and lost too much time in the first three stages to contend for victory.

Kangas eventually finished 5th while Rick Bates finished 11th in the second TTR Toyota Corolla Sportivo.

"You never want to be satisfied with 7th, but in many ways it was a perfect day," said Neal Bates at the overnight break.

“I drove as hard as I could and didn’t make a mistake all day, so it’s really satisfying from that perspective. We finished only three seconds behind Spencer and I can honestly look back and say there was nowhere I could have made that up – we were right on the limit.

“On any other day we might have finished fourth, but the finishing rate today was out of the ordinary.”

Local ace Simon Evans cruised to victory in Heat One over title combatants Cody Crocker and Ed Ordynski.




Times after SS8, Plantation 2












































Pos.
No.
Driver
Vehicle
Overall Time
1
10
Simon Evans/Sue Evans
Dr
Subaru
Dr
1:08:02.8
2
1
Cody Crocker/Greg Foletta
Dr
Subaru
Dr
1:08:13.5
3
4
Ed Ordynski/Iain Stewart
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
1:08:25.8
4
6
Scott Pedder/Paul Humm
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
1:08:29.0
5
17
Juha Kangas/Julia Rabbett
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
1:08:33.1
6
5
Spencer Lowndes/Chris Randell
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
1:08:55.9
7
7
Neal Bates/Coral Taylor
Dr
Toyota Corolla Sportivo
Dr
1:08:58.6
8
3
Dean Herridge/Glenn MacNeall
Dr
Subaru
Dr
1:09:24.4
9
22
Sam Brand/Anthony McLoughlin
Dr
Subaru
Dr
1:09:34.8
10
23
Will Orders/Matt McAdam
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
1:09:46.5
11
8
Rick Bates/Damien Long
Dr
Toyota Corolla Sportivo
Dr
1:09:58.7

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SS3 (Ben Cairn 1), SS4 (Acheron Way 1), SS5 (Plantation 1)


Improved road conditions have seen the Toyota twins move up the order in Heat One of the NGK Rally of Melbourne, with the hope of further gains in this afternoon’s three special stages.
Neal Bates moved up one place to 7th outright in his Toyota Team Racing Corolla Sportivo while twin brother Rick picked up two places to be 12th after a gamble with tyres this morning failed to pay dividends.

Rick could have picked up another couple of places, but lost engine power due to a split turbo boost hose.

TTR’s BFGoodrich tyres were well-suited to the drier road conditions on Special Stages four and five, where Neal’s times were within one second per kilometre of the pace-setters.

On SS4, the fastest time was set by privateer Juha Kangas, the only other driver using BFGoodrich rubber.

On SS4, Neal was only about five seconds slower than Australian Rally Championship leaders Ed Ordynski, Cody Crocker and Simon Evans while on the long SS5 he was within eight seconds of Kangas.

"The BFGoodrich tyres gave us a bit of an advantage on the drier roads, so we’re hoping that the sun keeps shining this afternoon and tomorrow," said Bates at the lunch break.

Local ace Simon Evans, looking to win his first ARC round, continues to lead by 22.8 seconds from Crocker and Ordynski.




Times after SS5, Plantation 1












































Pos.
No.
Driver
Vehicle
Overall Time
1
10
Simon Evans/Sue Evans
Dr
Subaru
Dr
42:07.2
2
1
Cody Crocker/Greg Foletta
Dr
Subaru
Dr
42:41.0
3
4
Ed Ordynski/Iain Stewart
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
42:44.3
4
6
Scott Pedder/Paul Humm
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
42:52.1
5
17
Juha Kangas/Julia Rabbett
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
43:03.4
6
5
Spencer Lowndes/Chris Randell
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
43:07.7
7
7
Neal Bates/Coral Taylor
Dr
Toyota Corolla Sportivo
Dr
43:16.4
8
3
Dean Herridge/Glenn MacNeall
Dr
Subaru
Dr
43:29.3
9
22
Sam Brand/Anthony McLoughlin
Dr
Subaru
Dr
43:45.2
10
23
Will Orders/Matt McAdam
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
43:48.2
12
8
Rick Bates/Damien Long
Dr
Toyota Corolla Sportivo
Dr
44:01.6

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SS1 (Kalatha 1), SS2 (Blowhard 1)


Toyota Team Racing has started the NGK Rally of Melbourne in cautious fashion on very slippery roads, with Neal Bates completing the first two special stages in eighth place outright.
Bates said he was pleased with the TTR Toyota Corolla Sportivo, but struggled for traction on the wet roads.

He finished the opening stages 39 seconds behind runaway leader and local hero Simon Evans, who made the most of his intimate knowledge of the Yarra Valley roads.

"It was very slippery out there and probably a bit too cold for our tyres, so we’re hoping it will be a bit warmer this afternoon," said Bates from the first service point.

“I’m reasonably happy overall because we are certainly closer to the other guys than we’ve been this year.

“This is Simon’s home event and he’s absolutely flying, but we’re still hoping to get among the other guys before the day is out.”

Twin brother Rick Bates had a spin on the second stage, but escaped with only superficial damage to the second TTR Corolla Sportivo.

Rick is running in 15th position and, like his brother, is looking forward to drier conditions as the event progresses.

There are another six special stages today to complete Heat One while Heat Two tomorrow will be conducted over 10 special stages.




Times after SS2, Blowhard 1















































Pos.
No.
Driver
Vehicle
Overall Time
1
10
Simon Evans/Sue Evans
Dr
Subaru
Dr
16:36.1
2
1
Cody Crocker/Greg Foletta
Dr
Subaru
Dr
16:56.1
3
4
Ed Ordynski/Iain Stewart
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
16:59.9
4
5
Spencer Lowndes/Chris Randell
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
17:06.7
5
6
Scott Pedder/Paul Humm
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
17:09.2
6
17
Juha Kangas/Julia Rabbett
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
17:09.3
7
8
Mark Thompson/Rita Thompson
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
17:13.9
8
7
Neal Bates/Coral Taylor
Dr
Toyota Corolla Sportivo
Dr
17:15.2
9
26
Brad Goldsborough/Dale Moscatt
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
17:19.1
10
13
Osamu Yamaguchi/Phil Dodd
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
17:23.6
15
8
Rick Bates/Damien Long
Dr
Toyota Corolla Sportivo
Dr
17:38.2

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SHAKEDOWN


Toyota Team Racing driver Neal Bates has started his challenge for this weekend’s NGK Rally of Melbourne in fine style by setting the second-fastest time in this morning’s Shakedown session at the De Bortoli Winery in the Yarra Valley.
The strong form shown by the TTR Toyota Corolla Sportivo confirms his team’s improved form in testing since the previous round of the Australian Rally Championship in South Australia.

Bates is confident that recent revisions to the Corolla Sportivo will enable him to challenge for a podium position this weekend.

Neal’s twin brother Rick was equal seventh-fastest in the second TTR Corolla Sportivo.

Neal, a three-time national champion, lists the Rally of Melbourne as his favourite event and debuted the Group N prototype Corolla Sportivo here one year ago.

"The Rally of Melbourne has always been my favourite event, not only because I’ve won it more often than any other rally, but because I like the roads," Neal said.

“This time I have even more reason to look forward to it because the changes we’ve made to the car should see us much closer to the pace.

“We have a new steering system that allows us to tighten up the diffs, which has given us much more traction.”

After a ceremonial start tonight in Melbourne’s Federation Square, the event – the penultimate round of the Australian Rally Championship – will be contested over 18 Special Stages in the Yarra Valley over the weekend.




Times during Shakedown
























































Pos.
No.
Driver
Vehicle
Overall Time
1
3
Dean Herridge/Glenn Macneall
Dr
Subaru
Dr
47.3
2
7
Neal Bates/Coral Taylor
Dr
Toyota Corolla Sportivo
Dr
47.5
=3
6
Scott Pedder/Paul Humm
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
47.6
=3
17
Juha Kangas/Julia Rabbett
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
47.6
5
5
Spencer Lowndes/Chris Randell
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
48.4
6
4
Ed Ordynski/Iain Stewart
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
48.5
=7
8
Rick Bates/Damien Long
Dr
Toyota Corolla Sportivo
Dr
49.0
=7
10
Simon Evans/Sue Evans
Dr
Subaru
Dr
49.0
9
8
Mark Thompson/Rita Thompson
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
49.2
=10
1
Cody Crocker/Greg Foletta
Dr
Subaru
Dr
49.8
=10
21
Richard Mason/Laurie Brenssell
Dr
Mitsubishi
Dr
49.8

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TESTING GIVES BATES CONFIDENCE FOR MELBOURNE


Extensive testing of new components has made Toyota Team Racing driver Neal Bates confident that his Toyota Corolla Sportivo will be a force in his favourite event, the NGK Rally of Melbourne on October 3-5.
The triple Australian Rally Championship spent three days in the forests around his native Canberra assessing some major changes to the Group N (Prototype) forest racer.

He came away convinced that the team has taken a major step forward in the car’s development.

The improvements stem from the development of a new steering rack, which has made the steering lighter and the Corolla easier to drive over extended periods.

More importantly, though, the new steering rack has enabled the team to change the differential settings to provide better traction.

Heavy steering and a lack of traction have been the major problems for TTR in its development year with the new Corollas, but the Canberra testing revealed a big improvement.

"From what we saw in testing, we’ll be much closer to the pace in Melbourne," said Bates.

“There’s much more traction because we’ve been able to tighten up the diffs whereas before they were so soft they were almost open.

“The car is also more relaxing to drive, especially over a long period of time. Until now, it has almost been trying to rip the steering wheel out of your hand.”

Bates and twin brother Rick, who drives the second TTR Corolla Sportivo, completed more than 1000km of testing in Canberra using both cars.

Only one of the cars was updated with the new steering while the second car remained in the same specification as for the previous round of the Australian Rally Championship in South Australia, where Bates finished a season-best fifth outright.

The updated car proved to be half a second per kilometre faster in back-to-back tests, which was about the gap from Bates to the front-runners in South Australia.

“I’m really excited about the prospect of being close to the pace in Melbourne,” said Bates.

“The Rally of Melbourne has always been my favourite event, not only because I’ve won it more often than any other rally, but because I like the roads. This time I have even more reason to look forward to it.

“I’ve been saying all year that we were aiming for a podium finish in Melbourne and I have more reason to be optimistic now than ever before. I can’t wait for the event to start.”

….ends/10749

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