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2006 Rally of Canberra

  1. TTR's SIMON EVANS FASTEST IN SHAKEDOWN FOR CAPITAL RALLY
  2. TTR BLASTS TO THE FRONT IN CAPITAL RALLY
  3. BATES TAKES LEAD IN CANBERRA’S CAPITAL RALLY
  4. BATES LEADS AFTER DAY ONE OF THE CAPITAL RALLY]
  5. BATES RETAINS LEAD IN CAPITAL RALLY
  6. BATES EXTENDS LEAD IN CAPITAL RALLY
  7. TOYOTA’S BATES WINS HIS HOME RALLY IN STYLE

TTR's SIMON EVANS FASTEST IN SHAKEDOWN FOR CAPITAL RALLY


Toyota Team Racing’s Simon Evans has completed an ideal preparation for the Capital Rally of Canberra by setting equal fastest time in this morning’s official shakedown session.

The Victorian shared fastest time of 1min51 secs with Mitsubishi’s Scott Pedder, with TTR team boss Neal Bates sharing third fastest time of 1min 53secs with Subaru’s Dean Herridge.

Evans is cautiously optimistic about the opening round of the Australian Rally Championship following a trouble free test session earlier this week.

"This event’s always tough and it’s been particularly hard on me in the past but last year we had a great result here, so I’m looking forward to it. Having said that, the competition is going to be pretty hot," he said.

Bates said the dry conditions would make life hard for competitors.

“It’s going to be incredibly hot throughout the weekend and towards the end of the rally the roads are going to get very rutted and it’s going to be dusty. It’ll be a tough event for both the cars and the drivers,” he said.

But he is confident that TTR is prepared for anything.

“We’ve worked our backsides off over the off-season. We’ve done a lot of suspension development and we’ve got a new turbo package, with a smaller turbo that will hopefully give the engine better response.

“The car should be very strong and competitive for the season, but having said that the competition is still going to be incredibly tight,” he said.

The rally kicks off in the forests around Canberra tomorrow morning.

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TTR BLASTS TO THE FRONT IN CAPITAL RALLY


TTR’s Simon Evans and Neal Bates are locked in a battle for the lead of the Capital Rally, Canberra, with Evans holding on to a slender 6.6sec lead after two stages.

Mitsubishi’s Kevin Shaw lies third in the event, 31.8sec behind Bates, while Toyota Corolla privateer Martin Lintott sits in seventh.

Subaru’s Dean Herridge, who is also competing for Australian Rally Championship points this weekend, was 16.2 seconds slower than Evans over the two stages.

Herridge is competing in the Rally of Canberra, a parallel event that is part of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship round.

Both Toyota drivers were pleased with their first stages of the season, with no major set-up changes at the first service.

Evans was the first ARC competitor out on the dry roads.

"The roads were pretty dangerous," said the Victorian driver. “They were quite rocky, and very ‘skatey’ and loose,” he said.

“The car is perfect – it is doing all the work at the moment and I am just the guy steering it.”

Neal Bates was pleased with the team’s start to the season, but acknowledged there were many stages left to run in the rally.

“We are very happy with the first two stages and if it stays like that we will be even happier.”

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BATES TAKES LEAD IN CANBERRA’S CAPITAL RALLY


TTR’s Neal Bates has taken the lead of the Capital Rally after team mate and early pace setter Simon Evans encountered electrical problems on stage five of the rally.

Evans now lies third, 1min20.6secs behind Bates, after incurring a 1min 20 penalty for being late out of service.

Mitsubishi’s Scott Pedder has moved to second place as a result of Evans’ misfortune, while privateer Corolla driver Martin Lintott is fourth.

Subaru’s Dean Herridge, who is this weekend competing in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship but is eligible for ARC points, trails Bates by 28.7 seconds.

Bates was happy with the car’s handling but said the road surface was starting to "chop up".

“The last group of stages were really good for us,” Bates said.

“The car is handling very well. We are really, really happy with it.”

Evans won stage three before a broken ignition wire had the car running on three cylinders.

“The car was pulsing down the straights…but I still had a good time and gave it a crack,” he said as he entered service.

The team managed to solve the glitch, but the popular Victorian was eight minutes late out of service.

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BATES LEADS AFTER DAY ONE OF THE CAPITAL RALLY]


Canberra local Neal Bates will take a 36.9 second lead into the second day of the Capital Rally after a comfortable win on day one of the event today.

Bates’ team mate Simon Evans lies third in the event after electronical gremlins saw him incur a 1 min 20 sec penalty for being late out of service.

Mitsubishi’s Scott Pedder finished second, while Toyota privateer Martin Lintott scored his best ever heat result in the Australian Rally Championship, finishing 4th.

Lintott now leads the Privateers Cup.

Subaru’s Dean Herridge, who is entered in the parallel Asia Pacific Rally Championship event, finished 35.7 seconds behind Bates and now lies second in the Australian Rally Championship.

Bates said the day provided the perfect start to the new year.

"We are obviously very happy to start the championship in the lead," he said.

“We were a little bit conservative as we didn’t want to make any mistakes in the first heat of the season – considering that, I am actually very happy with the times.”

Happy with his own day, the TTR boss lamented the fate of his teammate, Evans.

“It is a tough event and I feel sorry for Simon – he was very quick – but that is rallying.”

Evans was leading after four stages before a broken ignition wire began playing havoc with the engine on stage five.

The TTR crew scrambled to solve the problem at service and managed a temporary fix, although Evans was eight minutes late leaving service and paid the penalty.

“We thought the problem was fixed and the next stage was fantastic,” he said.

“Then with about six kilometres to go it started doing it again – we know exactly what is going on, we are just trying to solve it for tomorrow.”

The rally continues tomorrow morning.

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BATES RETAINS LEAD IN CAPITAL RALLY


Overnight leader Neal Bates remains in the lead of Canberra’s Capital Rally after the first two stages of day two, but there was little joy for team mate Simon Evans, who was again slowed by electrical problems.

Bates holds a 28.2sec lead over Mitsubishi’s Scott Pedder, who set the fastest times on the morning’s two stages.

Evans is third, 1min 39.8sec behind Bates.

Canberra local Bates was pleased with his morning’s performance and said the car was handling well.

"There were no problems at all. The car was really good," he said.

Bates was surprised at the good conditions of the roads considering today’s first two stages were re-run over the same roads as yesterday morning’s stages.

“The roads stood up reasonably well. There were a few ruts and a bit of dust but they weren’t too bad,” he said.

Evans mood was not as positive following a reoccurrence of the electrical problems that caused his car to drop to three cylinders during yesterday’s stage five.

“The problem started again during stage one,” a disappointed Evans said.

“It has actually gotten worse, it feels like it was dropping down to two cylinders.”

The team replaced the electrics during the day’s first service and the car was back to full power as it left the service park.

Subaru’s Dean Herridge, who is competing in the parallel Asia Pacific Rally Championship, is currently 39.4sec behind Bates over the ten stages.

Although he can’t win the Capital Rally, Herridge can score ARC championship points from the weekend.

He finished yesterday with 16 points for 2nd place and currently lies third for the weekend among the ARC runners on overall standings.

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BATES EXTENDS LEAD IN CAPITAL RALLY


Neal Bates has extended the lead over his rivals with some impressive stage times in his home event, the Capital Rally in Canberra.

After five stages on the second day, Bates leads Mitsubishi’s Scott Pedder by 58.3 seconds, with Toyota team mate Simon Evans making a charge in third, 31 seconds behind Pedder.

The Toyota duo sits first and second over today’s stages, with Bates narrowly ahead of his team mate.

Although he cannot figure in the finish of the Capital Rally, Subaru’s Dean Herridge is eligible for ARC points and sits 51 seconds behind Bates.

With three stages of the rally remaining, Bates was focused on maintaining his lead.

"We have done a reasonably good job so far, and we want to just keep doing the same thing," he said.

“I don’t like to talk about anything at this point, but so far it’s been a dream run.”

Evans has been consistently fast after the TTR crew fixed his car’s electrical gremlins at the first service.

On Stages 11 and 12 the Victorian set the fastest stage times to increase the pressure on Pedder.

“The car is fantastic – the team has done a great job,” he said. “I’m just pushing as hard and safe as I can.”

“It is just jumping out of fourth gear every now and then, but I don’t think it is a major issue – we’ll deal with it.”

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TOYOTA’S BATES WINS HIS HOME RALLY IN STYLE


Home town hero Neal Bates has won Canberra’s Capital Rally, the first round of the Australian Rally Championship.

The Toyota Team Racing (TTR) boss took an overnight lead of 36.9sec into today’s stages and was never headed, finishing 1min 12.8sec ahead of Mitsubishi’s Scott Pedder.

TTR’s Simon Evans was third, 10.5 secs behind Pedder.

For triple Australian rally champion Bates, it was his first ARC round win since 2001.

Bates’ team mate Evans also showed plenty of speed during the weekend, despite being plagued by electrical problems that robbed his Corolla of power at vital stages.

Evans won four of the last six stages of the rally but ultimately could not recover from a 1min 20 penalty for being late out of service while his crew tried to fix the problems on Saturday.

Today’s result sees Toyota sitting first and second in the ARC drivers’ championship, with Bates on 36 points ahead of Evans on 32 points.

Subaru’s Dean Herridge, who competed in the parallel Rally of Canberra event but was eligible for ARC points, lies third in the championship with 30 points ahead of Mitsubishi’s Scott Pedder on 26 points.

Bates was ecstatic with his dream start to the season.

"It doesn’t get better than that. To be first and second in the championship was our main aim, so we couldn’t be happier.

“The car was incredibly strong and the Michelin tyres were incredibly good – we had no punctures and had really good grip all weekend.

“I had an absolutely perfect rally. It’s disappointing that Simon had some problems but he did an exceptional job to bounce back," he said.

Evans was happy with his form, but frustrated by the electrical problems.

“It was a very good result considering the way the weekend started. Hats off to the boys. They found the problem and they tried to fix it and in the end we got there. I guess the moral of the story is never give up.

“After the first service today it was perfect. I couldn’t have asked for a better car. I absolutely hammered it in those final stages and they were really rough but it came through,” he said.

Evans said the result set Toyota up for a great season.

“The goal for this weekend was to come away with a one-two. Obviously I would have preferred to be number one but the boss came through. But we’re now in a really good position going into the next round,” he said.

The championship now heads to Western Australia, where Evans secured TTR’s first ARC round win in 2004.

Capital Rally Results

1. Neal Bates Toyota 2:23.41.1
2. Scott Pedder Mitsubishi +1.12.8
3. Simon Evans Toyota +1.23.3
4. Martin Lintott Toyota +4.24.7
5. Will Orders Subaru +7.21.5
6. Jesse Robison Subaru +10.09.3
ARC Standings after Capital Rally

1. Neal Bates Toyota 36pts
2. Simon Evans Toyota 32
3. Dean Herridge Subaru 30
4. Scott Pedder Mitsubishi 27
5. Martin Lintott Toyota 20
6. Will Orders Subaru 10

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