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2006 Rally of SA

  1. TRD MAINTAINS CHAMPIONSHIP 1-2 IN SA
  2. EVANS FIGHTS BACK AS BATES CONSOLIDATES THIRD
  3. DRAMA FOR EVANS IN HEAT 2
  4. EVANS EXTENDS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD DESPITE BRAKE DRAMAS
  5. BRAKE PROBLEMS FOR EVANS
  6. TOYOTA IN STRIKING DISTANCE EARLY IN HEAT 1
  7. TRD DRIVERS ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT SOUTH AUSTRALIA

TRD MAINTAINS CHAMPIONSHIP 1-2 IN SA


Toyota's Simon Evans and Neal Bates remain at the top of the NEC Australian Rally Championship after Round 5 in South Australia.

Evans finished in a drama-packed sixth in Heat 2, in addition to his second place in Heat 1, while Bates scored third place in both heats.

This was enough for Bates to finish the Toyota Rally SA second overall, while Evans was fourth.

Local Subaru privateer Steve Glenney finished fifth in Heat 1 and won Heat 2 to take overall honours, while Subaru's Dean Herridge split the Toyotas in third place.

Heat 1 winner Scott Pedder retired his Mitsubishi on the day's first stage with turbo problems.

Championship leader Evans admitted he made things difficult for himself in Heat 2.

He failed to secure his Corolla's bonnet pins between today's first and second stages, which saw the bonnet flip up and smash the windscreen.

The Victorian pulled over and ripped the bonnet off, but the time lost saw him drop down to 17th place.

A new bonnet and windscreen and Simon and Sue Evans were back setting fast stage times that saw them back to sixth place by the end of the rally - with a bonus point for most stage wins.

Meanwhile, Neal Bates and Coral Taylor had difficulty on the morning's first stage as they closed on the ailing Mitsubishi of Scott Pedder. Bates believed the difficulty in seeing through the excessive dust of the slower car cost him around 14s.

With only the NGK Rally of Melbourne remaining, the result sees Simon Evans leading the NEC ARC on 170 points - 16 points ahead of team mate Neal Bates, who is a further six points ahead of Herridge in third.

"It's been a tough day - the blame falls squarely on my shoulders for the bonnet problem," said Evans.

"After that, I just concentrated on driving the car fast and hopefully the times would get me back up the order a bit.

"I put a lot of pressure on myself to get back into the points. It's not so bad when something like that happens and you're fifth in the championship, but when you're leading it, it's terrible.

"Situations like that are when champions step up - and I want to be the champion this year so I had to stand up and work hard."

Evans is enthusiastic about heading to the final round at his home event in Melbourne, on top in championship points.

"I am obviously very fond of Melbourne - it was where I won my first round as a privateer.

"I'm really looking forward to it - hopefully I can get a really good result and take out the championship at home in front of my family and friends."

Bates had a consistent rally, repeatedly setting times among the top three. He was happy to close the gap to his team mate, though wary of Herridge, who closed the gap in points.

"We didn't really want the championship to get this close," he said.

"Simon had some problems this morning that cost him some time, but I guess it moves us closer to Simon and leaves it wide open in Melbourne - though it probably would have been better for us if there was a bigger gap.

"He's still got a handy lead in the championship, but it is a shame about this morning.

"We've been hanging in there all year and trying to do a consistently good job.

"Obviously we're getting a good amount of points and I would dearly love to win another Australian Rally Championship - we'll see how it goes in Melbourne."

The NEC ARC moves to the final round in Melbourne on September 23-24, and offers 50 per cent more points than the other rounds of the series.



Toyota Rally SA - Heat 2. Final results:

1) S.Glenney 49:36.9
2) D.Herridge +1.9
3) N.Bates +10.8
4) W.Orders +33.4
5) S.Reid +1:24.2
6) S.Evans +1:28.4



Toyota Rally SA - overall results:

1) S.Glenney
2) N.Bates
3) D.Herridge
4) S.Evans
5) W.Orders
6) S.Pedder



NEC Australian Rally Championship Standings after Round 5:

1) S.Evans 170 points
2) N.Bates 154
3) D.Herridge 148
4) S.Pedder 133
5) D.Windus 66
6) S.Reid 63

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EVANS FIGHTS BACK AS BATES CONSOLIDATES THIRD


Toyota's Simon Evans continues to claw back time after his morning hiccup in Heat 2 of Toyota Rally SA, while Neal Bates focuses on consolidating third place over the final four stages.

Evans dropped to 17th after his bonnet flipped up onto his windscreen in the day's second stage.

After the TRD crew replaced the bonnet, hinges and windscreen Evans went about retrieving lost positions.

Two fastest stage times out of the next four stages has Evans in eighth position and poised to continue the improvement.

"I'm pretty happy to be where we are, but we'll get to the end and worry about where we end up," said Evans.

"The reality is that any more positions we pick up now will be a bonus.

"We're currently in eighth, which is not that bad. I'm relaxed and I'm not stressing - I'm surprised we're as high up as we are.

"Getting fifth in this heat is the task."

Bates has driven a consistent rally, but was left ruing time lost behind the ailing Mitsubishi of Scott Pedder, as he sits 13.5s behind second placed Dean Herridge.

"If it wasn't for getting caught in Scott's dust this morning, Dean and I would be pretty level," said the TRD boss.

"I haven't worked out the tenths, but he took 14 seconds off us on the first stage and we're about 13 seconds behind."

"I'd like to think we could get Dean, but he's been going exceptionally quickly this weekend.

"It will be a tall order for us, but we'll see what we can do and where we end up at the end.

Four stages remain in the Toyota Rally SA.



Toyota Rally SA - Heat 2. Results after SS15:

1) S.Glenney 32:44.7
2) D.Herridge +8.8
3) N.Bates +22.3
4) W.Orders +30.1
5) S.Reid +1:07.1
6) J.Monkhouse +1:09.9

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DRAMA FOR EVANS IN HEAT 2


Toyota's Simon Evans has encountered trouble on the second stage of Heat 2 when the bonnet on his Corolla flew up onto the windscreen.

On the day's first stage, Simon and Sue Evans had set the third fastest time behind the Subarus of Steve Glenney and Dean Herridge.

Team mate Neal Bates was sixth fastest after being slowed while passing the Mitsubishi of Scott Pedder, who pulled out with turbo problems.

The NEC Australian Rally Championship leader's day took a turn for the worse when the bonnet on car ten flipped up and crashed into the windscreen at the start of SS12.

Evans pointed the finger at himself for not securing the bonnet correctly.

"I did it myself," he said. "I'm thinking about the rally, about the next stage, and Scott being out, planning the event and just forgot about it.

"Sue said I was at the front of the bonnet and started speaking to her and I might have undone it then while I was talking to her.

"I drove for about half a kilometre looking out the side window - my neck is really sore from leaning over to see out.

"I just ripped it off - it was really hard actually.

"I tried to put the pins back in but I didn't have any hope so I started reefing it - it took a long time to break the hinge.

"The first stage was very slippery and we were obviously sweeping the roads," Evans continued.

"I was using all of the road, clipping embankments and it was a really good run, despite the inconsistency of grip on the stage.

"I'm going to have to charge now. They have to let the leash off me now to get some time back."

The TRD crew worked diligently to replace the bonnet, hinges and windscreen within the 20 minute service period.

TRD boss Bates was disappointed to lose time in the dust of the stricken Scott Pedder.

"The first stage was incredibly slippery and the sun was really bad," said Bates.

"When you mixed in the dust and smoke from Scott's car the vision was very difficult.

"When I passed him I didn't lose any time, but the problem was being in his dust for kilometres beforehand.

"Otherwise the car is fine and we had a pretty good run in the second stage there."

Seven stages remain in the Toyota Rally SA.


Toyota Rally SA - Heat 2. Results after SS12:

1) S.Glenney 15:33.8
2) D.Herridge +10.6
3) W.Orders +21.7
4) N.Bates +25.6
5) S.Brand +27.7
6) J.Monkhouse +33.6

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EVANS EXTENDS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD DESPITE BRAKE DRAMAS


TRD's Simon Evans continued to fight braking problems during the last set of three stages at the Toyota Rally SA.

Toyota's Simon Evans today increased his championship lead by finishing Heat 1 of the Toyota Rally SA in second place after brake problems hampered his morning running.

Team mate Neal Bates was just two seconds behind Evans in third place, losing out to the Victorian on the day's second last stage.

Mitsubishi's Scott Pedder won the heat, with the Subarus of Dean Herridge (who suffered a 30s time penalty after a gearbox change) and Steve Glenney finishing fourth and fifth.

Evans was left ruing the day's first six stages where he ran with a new brake package that played havoc with his confidence under braking on flowing roads.

The team changed back to the old system at the day's second service, resulting in immediate success as Evans was quickest on SS7.

"It was much easier and more consistent to drive this afternoon," said Evans.

"I found it very difficult to have confidence in the brakes and to stop the car when I needed to.

"I think the new ones are better on the initial application, but when you really step on it, these ones are much better.

"As you went down the top ten, there were quite a few drivers that performed really well - I think the top three were sweeping the roads," said the NEC Australian Rally Championship leader.

"When we left the last service we were in fourth position, and I told [wife and co-driver] Sue that we needed to finish second and extend the points lead - we just had to knuckle down and do the job."

Team mate Neal Bates was happy with the team performance, though disappointed to be pipped by his team mate.

"We're very happy to be second and third, but obviously we'd be happier if we were first and second, but it wasn't to be," he said.

"Scott Pedder did a superb job to maintain that pace, but it is a new day tomorrow and we need to find a little bit more speed.

"Everything is fine with the car - there are no problems at all.

"We're not going to make any changes, we just need to find some more speed."

Heat 2 of Toyota Rally SA is tomorrow in the Mount Crawford - Barossa Valley region.



Toyota Rally SA - Heat 1. Final results:

1) S.Pedder 58:31.2
2) S.Evans +27.4
3) N.Bates +29.4
4) D.Herridge +45.9
5) S.Glenney +50.6
6) W.Orders +1:05.7

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BRAKE PROBLEMS FOR EVANS


TRD's Simon Evans continued to fight braking problems during the last set of three stages at the Toyota Rally SA.

After testing in Victoria two weeks ago, the TRD crew fitted new AP Racing brakes to Evans' Corolla for this weekend's event.

However the championship leader has struggled to feel comfortable with the balance of the new set-up during the event's first six stages.

"When you are going through the fast, flowing stuff, every time you hit the brakes the rear wanted to pass the front," said Evans.

"I just had to go with it, be patient and get it to the end.

"In Forties and Ridgetops [the two spectator stages], there are a lot of square corners where you go along a straight and you brake hard and you turn - there are no worries in those sections.

"Just the fast, flowing stuff where you've got to left foot brake a bit.

"In testing we knew the road and I guess it could mask the problem a bit. It was very good in testing, which is why I stood by them.

The TRD crew changed brakes on the Evans Corolla at the day's second service, reverting to the old set-up.

"Otherwise the car is good and I haven't put a wheel wrong all day - I've been driving nice and safe.

"I won't be so safe this afternoon - I'll have to turn it up a bit."

Team mate Neal Bates sits in third place, 2.3s ahead of Evans, and 22.4s behind the lead Mitsubishi of Scott Pedder.

Bates resisted changing to the new brakes for this rally.

"There are circumstances when the new package is better for sure," he said. "But overall, they're probably not as good."

""I'm not having any problems - everything is going perfectly. I'm not changing anything on the car and it is doing everything I want it to do, but we're just not quite quick enough.

"The road conditions are getting drier - they were a little bit wet this morning, but generally the conditions are excellent."

The Subaru of Dean Herridge suffered a gearbox failure on SS6, and will incur a 30s penalty as of SS7, vaulting the TRD duo to second and third.

Toyota Rally SA - Heat 1. Results after SS6:

1) S.Pedder 33:57.5
2) D.Herridge +17.9
3) N.Bates +22.4
4) S.Evans +24.7
5) S.Glenney +44.7
6) W.Orders +48.3

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TOYOTA IN STRIKING DISTANCE EARLY IN HEAT 1


TRD drivers Simon Evans and Neal Bates currently sit third and fourth after the first three stages of the Toyota Rally SA.

Team boss Neal Bates sits in third, 13.6s behind leader Scott Pedder, and just 2.6s behind Subaru's Dean Herridge.

NEC Australian Rally Championship leader Simon Evans is in fourth place, a further 1.4s behind Bates.

Evans set the fastest time on the morning's first stage, before a difficult second stage dropped him to fourth.

"I'm not gelling with the car at the moment," said Evans.

"There's something going on between me and the car at the moment, and we've got to sort it out.

"The middle one in that group of stages was a bit ordinary, and I couldn't find a balance in the car.

"The boys have got a few ideas, we're trying some things and we'll see how we go in the next group of stages.

"I tend to think the problem is in the balance of the new brakes [referring to the new AP Racing brake package], but we're looking at ways of solving it.

"I think the tyre choice was correct but we could probably do with a small cut in it too.

Bates was content with his morning's work and is looking at running down Dean Herridge.

"We're reasonably happy," said Bates. "We've probably had the same problems as everybody else.

"But we're hanging in there and we'll see what we can do this afternoon.

"That second stage is a difficult stage and if the car isn't working it'll really show up there.

"The tyres were good, but maybe a cut might have helped to get a bit more temperature in the tyres."

However, both drivers maintained their tyre choices for the next set of stages.

Toyota Rally SA - Heat 1. Results after SS3:

1) S.Pedder 17:20.2
2) D.Herridge +11.0
3) N.Bates +13.6
4) S.Evans +15.0
5) W.Orders +29.4
6) S.Glenney +35.2

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TRD DRIVERS ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT SOUTH AUSTRALIA


Toyota rally drivers Simon Evans and Neal Bates are eagerly awaiting taking to the flowing roads of the South Australian forests this weekend.

The team mates were in a buoyant mood at this morning's unofficial practice, despite the rainy conditions.

NEC Australian Rally Championship leader, Simon Evans, is taking a somewhat cautious approach to the Toyota Rally SA.

"We don't have to win here, which is a bit of a relief," said Evans.

"All we have to do is get on the podium, but even that is going to be tough.

"The roads are in absolutely magic condition. You can go so fast, but that's where you can get caught out - in that high-speed corner that just tightens up a little bit. You've really got to be switched on when you're out there."

Evans is relishing the chance to lead the championship, but admits to a degree of responsibility out in front.

"I've never been so nervous in all my life.

"The pressure is on to perform at every event, but I'm enjoying leading the pack. But the reality is that the pressure is on the other boys to close the gap."

TRD boss Neal Bates sits just behind Evans in second place in the championship.

"The championship has been incredibly good for us so far and we've had a dream start to the championship," he said. "Tasmania was the first round we haven't won this year."

"If Simon and Sue won the championship I would be over the moon. If we won the championship I might be a little bit happier, but it is a team effort and they have done the business this year."

Bates was cautious about the weather, after rain had led to damp roads during the mornings practice runs.

"We'd be very happy if it doesn't rain again this weekend.

"Traditionally Michelins have been really good in the dry and we feel like we have a tyre advantage in dry conditions, so we're looking for dry, hard-packed roads.

"From what we saw in recce yesterday, the conditions are perfect."

The Toyota Rally SA runs through the Barossa Valley and Mount Crawford Forest region north of Adelaide on Saturday and Sunday (August 19 and 20).

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