13 August 2007
EVANS WINS THRILLER IN SA
TRD's Simon Evans has staged a remarkable performance to win both heats of the Toyota Kluger Rally of South Australia and score his fourth straight round win in the NEC Australian Rally Championship.
Evans and his co-driver wife Sue claimed their eighth and ninth consecutive heat wins in the Barossa Valley despite South Australian Subaru driver Steve Glenney pushing them throughout the event.
Glenney put his local knowledge to good use, staging a titanic struggle with the reigning champion.
Evans prevailed at the tarmac Angaston Special Stage last night to win Heat 1 by 0.9s.
It was again tight in Heat 2 as the drivers left the final service of the day with Evans leading by a meagre 5.6s.
However, he pulled out a whopping 15s on Glenney in just 13 kilometres of rallying through stages 20 and 21 to score a decisive heat victory by 19.1s.
Team-mate Neal Bates spent the day recovering from a slow start to Heat 2 - the TRD team boss finding himself in seventh place at the day's first service.
Bates and co-driver Coral Taylor fought back throughout the day, gaining on and passing several drivers to finish the day fourth.
Combined with his third place in Heat 1, Bates and Taylor finished equal third with Subaru's Dean Herridge on points - but missed out on the podium on a count back.
Bates leaves the Barossa Valley thrilled to have completed two full events with his brand new Corolla Super 2000 car without suffering a single mechanical failure.
Simon Evans, Group N (P):
"That was a really satisfying win. Glenney pushed us the whole way, and to come through and beat him on his home roads was a great achievement. It was pretty hard towards the end of Heat 2, but we turned up the wick on those last stages and pulled out the win. It was a pretty wild rally - amazingly fast and really slippery. There were some slightly out-of-control moments, but it is always a great thrill to win a tight one. The team has just built a bulletproof car - if I was ever going to break the Corolla it was going to be this afternoon, but we did not have a problem all day. We've now got a massive 95 point lead in the championship, which is almost unbelievable."
Neal Bates, S2000:
"I am over the moon with the reliability of our car during its first two events. We didn't quite have the speed this morning, but we picked it up again this afternoon which meant we could get past some of the cars that had snuck past us early. The team has made a remarkable car and it is only going to get better. We were battling with Dean for the whole rally - it's just a shame that he pipped us for the last podium place today on count back. Simon and Steve were just so fast this weekend - congratulations to Simon and Sue for coming out on top.
Toyota Kluger Rally SA - Heat 2.
1) Simon Evans Toyota Corolla Group N (Prototype) 50:03.6
2) Steve Glenney Subaru Impreza WRX Group N +19.1
3) Dean Herridge Subaru Impreza WRX Group N +28.4
4) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla Super 2000 +43.5
5) Brendan Reeves Subaru Impreza WRX Group N +50.4
6) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO Group N +1:04.6
Toyota Kluger Rally SA.
1) Simon Evans Toyota Corolla Group N (Prototype)
2) Steve Glenney Subaru Impreza WRX Group N
3) Dean Herridge Subaru Impreza WRX Group N
4) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla Super 2000
5) Brendan Reeves Subaru Impreza WRX Group N
6) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO Group N
NEC Australian Rally Championship.
Points standings after Round 4:
1) Simon Evans Toyota Corolla Group N (Prototype) 323 points
2) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla Super 2000 228
3) Dean Herridge Subaru Impreza WRX Group N 218
4) Brendan Reeves Subaru Impreza WRX Group N 152
5) Michael Guest Ford Fiesta Super 2000 110
6) Eli Evans Subaru Impreza WRX Group N 104
Simon Evans was pushed by local driver Steve Glenney in SA, but ultimately won his eighth and ninth straight heats, and his fourth consecutive round.