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2004 NGK Rally of Melbourne

  1. EVANS FINISHES 3RD OUTRIGHT IN GLOBALSTAR AUSTRALIAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP IN MELBOURNE
  2. TTR ON THE PACE FOR HEAT TWO OF RALLY OF MELBOURNE IN MELBOURNE
  3. TTR FIGHTS BACK AFTER DAY OF DRAMAS IN RALLY OF MELBOURNE IN MELBOURNE
  4. BATES OUT OF RALLY OF MELBOURNE AFTER CRASH IN MELBOURNE
  5. BATES SECOND AFTER DRAMA CHARGED MORNING IN MELBOURNE
  6. COROLLAS TOP THE TIMESHEETS AT RALLY OF MELBOURNE SHAKEDOWN
  7. EVANS SET TO TAKE ON RALLY OF MELBOURNE

EVANS FINISHES 3RD OUTRIGHT IN GLOBALSTAR AUSTRALIAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP IN MELBOURNE


Toyota Team Racing's Simon Evans has finished 3rd outright in the Australian Rally Championship after a drama-charged final day of the Rally of Melbourne.

Evans survived a roll on the last corner of the rally to bring his Corolla home fourth for the weekend and edge out Mitsubishi's Juha Kangas for 3rd spot in the championship.

The popular Victorian and his co-driver and wife Sue were uninjured in the crash in the final special stage at the De Bortolli Winery in Victoria's Yarra Valley.

But the roll over dropped them from 2nd to 5th in today's heat.

Evans was upset at the mishap, but happy with clinching 3rd place in the championship.

~I'm really annoyed about that last corner. The road was quite cut up and I got caught in the ruts and she just went over. The very last corner of the rally - unbelievable,~ he said.

For Evans, it was the climax of an eventful rally that included two flat tyres and an emergency repair job on an oil cooler.

But he was delighted to have overhauled Mitsubishi's Juha Kangas for 3rd place in the championship.

~I'm really happy with the end result when you think about what has happened this season,~ he said.

A third place looked a forlorn hope when Evans crashed his Corolla and broke his leg in the Safari Rally Tasmania.

~The team's done a great job all season and it's been a blast,~ he said.

TTR team boss Neal Bates bounced back from a big crash yesterday to secure 4th in today's heat, while rookie Ben Barker underlined his potential with a 6th place.

It was the second rally in a row that TTR has finished with three cars in the top six.

Bates showed few ill effects of his big accident yesterday, although a change of tyre compound in the afternoon hurt his chances.

~The more stages I did the less the neck hurt, although it did stiffen up a fair bit when we came in for service,~ he said.

~Looking back on the afternoon I should have stayed with the same tyre compound because I was actually slower than my morning times on the same stages. But overall it was a good result,~ he said.

Barker also suffered from a bad tyre choice, but the rookie was elated with his performance.

~The car was fantastic today and to get a result like this is just awesome.

~I couldn't have wished for a better result to finish the season,~ he said.

Barker finished 10th in the championship.

Bates, who finished 6th in the championship, was proud of the team's performance this year.

~We've come an enormous way this season with the Corolla. The speed of the car has been improved out of sight and the reliability has been incredible,~ he said.

~We've proved to be very competitive all year and we're all looking forward to giving the championship a real shake in 2005,~ he said.

RALLY OF MELBOURNE RESULTS






























































1. Cody Crocker/Greg Foletta Subaru 55.5
2. Chris Atkinson/Ben Atkinson Subaru 51
3. Dean Herridge/Glenn Macneall Subaru 45
4. Simon Evans/Sue Evans Toyota 33
5. Ed Ordynski/Iain Stewart Mitsubishi 21
6. Neal Bates/Coral Taylor Toyota 18
7. Juha Kangas/Julia Rabbett Mitsubishi 15
=7.

Ben Barker/Damien Long

Toyota 15
9. Brad Goldsbrough/Dale Moscatt Subaru 9
10. Mark Thompson/Rita Thompson Mitsubishi 6



FINAL CHAMPIONSHIP POSITIONS






























































1. Cody Crocker/Greg Foletta    
2. Chris Atkinson/Ben Atkinson    
3. Simon Evans/Sue Evans    
4. Juha Kangas/Julia Rabbett    
5. Dean Herrdige/Glenn Macneall    
6. Neal Bates/Coral Taylor    
7. Ed Ordynski/Iain Stewart    
8. Scott Pedder/Paul Humm    
9. Brad Goldsbrough/Dale Moscatt    
10.

Ben Barker/Damien Long

   

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TTR ON THE PACE FOR HEAT TWO OF RALLY OF MELBOURNE IN MELBOURNE


Toyota Team Racing has bounced back strongly from yesterday's misfortunes, with all three of the team's Corollas well positioned in today's heat of the Rally of Melbourne.

Simon Evans is 4th, just 13.4sec behind heat leader Chris Atkinson, while Neal Bates has recovered from his big crash yesterday to be 5th, a further 15.9secs behind.

TTR development driver Ben Barker lies 6th, 28.6sec adrift of Bates.

Evans was happy with his morning's work, despite hitting an embankment while pushing hard.

~It was up on two wheels for a while there and it was a bit scary, but I kept the foot in and managed to collect it.

~The hit has knocked the alignment out but other than that the car's pretty good,~ he said, Evans has resisted the temptation to change the set-up of his Corolla, despite some ominous clouds hovering in the area.

~I reckon the weather's going to hold off this afternoon so I'm sticking with the same compound tyre,~ he said.

Team boss Bates was showing no ill effects from yesterday's shunt, narrowly missing out on a stage win by just 0.1sec on SS14.

~The more stages I do, the better I feel,~ he said.

The only drama for Bates this morning was a broken cooling fan that sent his Corolla's engine temperature up.

~Other than that, the car feels good, although it is still a little out of alignment from yesterday's crash,~ he said.

Bates' crew had worked on his damaged car until almost 2am this morning.

Rookie Ben Barker was also pleased with his effort.

~The car feels really comfortable to drive, but it's understeering a bit and we're going to make a couple of changes for the afternoon,~ he said, The rally and the Globalstar ARC concludes this afternoon with a special stage at the picturesque De Bortoli Winery in the Yarra Valley.



















































































Outright
Classification after SS14 De Bortoli Super Special

Pos. No. Driver Vehicle Overall Time
1 3 Chris Atkinson / Ben Atkitson Subaru 32:47.1
2 1
Cody Crocker / Greg Foletta

Subaru 32:56.8
3 2
Dean Herridge / Glenn Macneal

Subaru 32:59.3
4 10
Simon Evans / Sue Evans

Toyota Corolla Sportivo 33:00.5
5 7
Neal Bates / Coral Taylor

Toyota Corolla Sportivo 33:16.4
6 8
Ben Barker
/ Damien Long

Toyota Corolla Sportivo 33:45.0
7 18
Martin Lintott / Tony Jackosn

Mitsubishi 34:07.6
8 4
Ed Ordynski
/ Iain Stewart

Mitsubishi 34:08.4
9 11
M.Thompson

Mitsubishi 34:17.8
10 16
Jack Monkhouse / Darren Masters

Mitsubishi 1:34:29.6


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TTR FIGHTS BACK AFTER DAY OF DRAMAS IN RALLY OF MELBOURNE IN MELBOURNE


Toyota Team Racing's Simon Evans made a stunning comeback from two flat tyres to finish 4th in today's first heat of the Rally of Melbourne.

Team-mate Ben Barker also put in a sensational effort to finish 7th on the road, despite persistent gearbox problems that forced him to drive most of today's stages with only one hand on the wheel.

Team boss Neal Bates crashed out of the rally while fighting for the lead on stage 4.

He was taken to hospital for a check-up but later returned to the service park.

The team is currently assessing whether his car can be fixed before tomorrow's heat.

Today's result means that Evans is no longer in contention for the championship, but the popular Victorian was happy with his performance in the circumstances.

~I'm really stoked to have finished fourth after two flat tyres and all the dramas we had,~ he said.

~The car felt really good and I'm looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow,~ he said.

Evans set the fastest time in stage 8 and was on a charge in stage 9 before he clipped a bank and damaged the car's gearbox cooler.

With the help of wife and co-driver Sue, he managed to repair the damage and limp home to the service park for repairs.

Bates said his crash was frustrating because he had only gone fractionally wide.

~I was only slightly off line going through the corner but unfortunately there was moisture on the side of the road and we slid off into a ditch,~ he said.

He was unsure whether the car could be repaired in time for tomorrow's heat.

~It was a big hit and the car was badly damaged, but we'll take it to a panelbeater's and see what can be done,~ he said.

Barker was left to ponder what might have been after he was forced to hold 4th gear in place for most of the day.

~The car was awesome and if we hadn't had the problems we would have been right on the pace,~ he said. The rookie showed great maturity to drive around the gearbox dramas and posted a 5th fastest time in SS08.


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BATES OUT OF RALLY OF MELBOURNE AFTER CRASH IN MELBOURNE


Toyota Team Racing's Neal Bates is out of Heat One of the Rally of Melbourne after an accident during stage 4.

Bates and co-driver Coral Taylor were not seriously injured in the accident, although Bates was taken by car to nearby Maroondah Hospital for a precautionary examination on a sore neck.

The team boss was fighting for the lead of the rally when his Corolla slid off the road and into a ditch.

Meanwhile team-mate Simon Evans has fought back to 6th position after another flat tyre on stage 4 of the rally.

Evans remains upbeat despite his run of bad luck.

~Number one plan is to bring it home and number two plan is to bring it home as fast as I can,~ he said.

TTR's third driver Ben Barker lies 8th after suffering gearbox problems in the early stages of the rally.

~The car keeps jumping out of 4th gear, so I'm having to steer with one hand on the wheel,~ he said

The TTR crew tried without success to repair the problem at service, but Barker was forced to drive around the problem for stages 4, 5 and 6.

He also incurred a time penalty for being late out of service.



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BATES SECOND AFTER DRAMA CHARGED MORNING IN MELBOURNE


Toyota Team Racing's Neal Bates lies 2nd in the NGK Rally of Melbourne after an eventful morning for the team in the forests around Healesville.

Bates is just 5.2sec behind rally leader Cody Crocker after three stages of the rally.

Team-mate and championship contender Simon Evans is 7th after fighting back from a flat tyre just 1km into the first stage of the day.

He was forced to nurse his Corolla to the end of the stage and lost 40secs to the leaders. The flat also damaged Evan's intercooler, which meant the car was down on power for the next two stages. After SS03, he is 44sec off the lead.

TTR development driver Ben Barker lies 12th after losing 5th gear a couple of kilometres into the first stage. The car was also jumping out of 4th, forcing the rookie to steer with one hand on the wheel. He is 1:01.6sec off the lead.

While disappointed by the team's fortunes in the morning, team leader Bates was confident of taking the fight to series leader Crocker.

~I'm really happy with the pace of the car and it's handling the roads very well,~ he said.

~We're sticking with the same set-up for the next stages,~ he said.

Evans was philosophical about his bad luck.

~These things happen. Once we fixed the tyre we were back on the pace, although the engine was overheating a bit because of the damage to the intercooler,~ he said.

Barker and Long continued in the rally after running repairs to the gearbox.

ends

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COROLLAS TOP THE TIMESHEETS AT RALLY OF MELBOURNE SHAKEDOWN


Toyota Team Racing drivers Neal Bates and Ben Barker were equal fastest in this morning’s shakedown session ahead of the weekend’s NGK Rally of Melbourne.
Globalstar ARC championship contender Simon Evans took a cautious approach to the session and finished 9th fastest.

Team leader Bates was satisfied with the team’s preparations for the final rally of the year.

"We had an excellent test day earlier in the week and we’re primed for a big result," he said.

Evans was also in an upbeat mood this morning.

“Testing was fantastic and I can’t wait to get out there tomorrow,” he said.

Evans needs to win his home event to have a chance of claiming the title.

But after dominating the event in the past two years, the Victorian is confident of a good showing on home soil.

He goes into the Rally of Melbourne 21 points behind defending champion Crocker, but there are 61.5 points up for grabs in the final round.

TTR is looking to build on its excellent team performance in the Rally of NSW, where all three cars finished in the top six.

The Rally of Melbourne begins with a ceremonial start at Federation Square tonight before heading into the Yarra Valley near Healesville for the grand finale on Saturday and Sunday.

ends

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EVANS SET TO TAKE ON RALLY OF MELBOURNE


Toyota Team Racing driver Simon Evans believes recent testing in Queensland and Victoria could give him an edge as he seeks to win the 2004 Globalstar Australian Rally Championship this weekend (October 1-3).
The Toyota Corolla Sportivo driver needs to win his home event, the NGK Rally of Melbourne, to have a chance of claiming the title.

Having dominated this event in the last two years, Evans is confident of doing well on roads that he knows well.

Evans and teammates Neal Bates and Ben Barker have tested extensively in recent weeks to fine-tune the handling of the Corolla Sportivos in preparation for the big finale in the Yarra Valley.

"We worked on all sorts of stuff in testing in Brisbane and made a lot of small improvements to improve the balance of the car and its cornering ability," Evans said during testing near Healesville on Tuesday.

“Here we are really just seeing what suits these roads and conditions the best, and I’m really happy.

“I feel more confident with the car set-up now and I’m really looking forward to getting out there on the weekend and seeing what we can do against the other guys for the championship.

“Tyres will be crucial in this event and with these dry conditions I think we will all be using harder compounds.

“I think we might have a tyre advantage here because the BFGoodrich hard tyre is very good.”

Evans loves performing in front of his home fans and is not concerned about the championship situation.

“There’s really not much pressure on us because we are coming from behind and we have nothing to lose,” he said.

“I’ll just drive as fast as I can and, if we do that well, then we’ll definitely be in contention to win the title – it will just depend on where Cody (Croker), Chris (Atkinson) and Juha (Kangas) finish.

“I feel good about it being my home event because I know these stages like the back of my hand.

“It’s a real mind game driving these roads because they can easily bite you. There are sure to be some big scares during the event, but they don’t bother me, which is why I’ve done well here in the past.

“It could play on the other drivers, though.”

Evans goes into the Rally of Melbourne 21 points behind defending champion Crocker, but there are 61.5 points up for grabs in the final round.

The event begins with a ceremonial start at Federation Square on Friday before heading into the Yarra Valley near Healesville on Saturday and Sunday.

ends16490

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