58 cars for Rally South Australia
- 17th July 2009, 2:39pm
The event combines up the fifth and final round of the 2009 Australian Rally Championship (ARC) and the third round of the South Australian Rally Championship (SARC) - and competitors have responded in force with a stunning list of teams, drivers and vehicles nominated for the challenging event.
Despite the current economic climate the 2009 entry list is three cars larger than last year's total of 55.
The list of 24 Australian Rally Championship registered cars is headed by defending Rally SA champions (and current ARC points leaders) Simon and Sue Evans, who will this year drive their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX for their family-supported team after last year driving a works Toyota Corolla.
The Evans's will have a fight on their hands though, with possibly the strongest ARC grid of the year looking to challenge them.
Defending series champions Neal Bates and Coral Taylor (Neal Bates Motorsport Toyota Corolla S2000) will return after finishing third in the event last year and will look to take back-to-back ARC titles in the process.
Darren Windus will steer a second Neal Bates built S2000 Corolla after contesting last years' Rally SA in an S2000-spec Ford Fiesta.
Last year the high-revving scream of the non-turbo S2000 cars delighted the massive Angaston super-special crowds and the same is expected this year.
Other leading ARC contenders include the Raymond brothers, Glen and Matt, in a Group N(P) Corolla and the Subaru-driving combination of Eli Evans and Glen Weston â€“ who finished second and won a heat in last years' event South Australian event.
23-interstate crews have entered for the event, set to contribute thousands of dollars to the local economy over the course of their four or five day stay in the state.
Eight cars alone come from Queensland, a huge effort, whilst crews also hail from Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia and the ACT.
South Australian standout Brett Kipling, from Port Wakefield, will look to find the form that last year saw him stun the ARC establishment with top-three stage times before unfortunately rolling himself out of contention on day one. He and current SARC champion Matt Selley (Subaru Impreza WRX) are likely to be amongst the leading local crews challenging themselves against the best in the country.
Meanwhile a massive 34-car contingent has entered in the SARC section, showing the strength of local rallying.
The SARC grid features a massive variety of cars ranging from the standard rally fare Mitsubishi Lancers and Subaru Impreza, to more eclectic machinery like Datsun 180Bs, Galant VR4s, Nissan Pulsar GTi's and a lone Mazda RX-7.
Fans of classic rally machinery also won't be disappointed, several classic Escorts, including the Queensland-based Cosworth powered Escort RS 1600 of John Hills, having entered.
The Sprint Auto Parts Rally SA kicks off on Friday, July 31st with the inaugural Pedders No Bull shootout to be held in the Mount Crawford Forrest that morning.
Crews will then tackle the first of two Angaston Oval Super-Special stages on the Friday night, an event that last year drew nearly 7500 people over two days to witness the superb rallying action.
Tickets can be pre-purchased online for the Angaston Super Special stages, costing $10 per night or $15 for a two-day pass for Adults. Family passes â€“ for two adults and two children â€“ are available for $20 / night or $30 for both nights.
The two heats of the Sprint Auto Parts Rally SA will then be contested on Saturday and Sunday on the high-speed and challenging roads around the Barossa and Eden Valleys and Adelaide Hills north of the city.
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