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TRD team mates Simon Evans and Neal Bates are leading the charge to the third round of the 2008 Australian Rally Championship, coates Rally Queensland, to be held on the Sunshine Coast, June 20 – 22.

Over 70 crews will contest the rally which is based at the SurfAir on Marcoola resort with the forest stages in the Imbil State Forest.

Bates currently holds the Championship lead after a less than perfect start to the year for defending series champion Evans.

“I am over the moon to be leading the Championship,” said Bates.  “We’re in a great position and I can’t wait to get up to Queensland and continue the fight.”

It will be a tough battle for the three times Australian Champion with Evans keen to record his first round win for the season.

“It’s been a challenging start to the season that’s for sure, but the car is fantastic and if we can avoid the troubles that have thwarted our best efforts in the last two rounds, I am confident we’ll be able to take the win,” said Evans.

Leading privateer Britek’s Darren Windus will be out to secure his second podium finish of the season and in an added boost to the team and the fans in the forest, he will be back behind the wheel of the S2000 Fiesta he drove in last year's Championship.

“I’m hoping the Fiesta will bridge the gap to the Toyotas and give us that extra edge over the rest of the field,” said Windus.  “My aim is to be on the podium every round for the remainder of the season, and I believe the Fiesta is the car that can help me achieve that.”

coates Rally Queensland will kick off with the ‘Pacific Ford Shootout’ on Friday night  June 20, with a ceremonial start and super special stage to be held in the Maroochy Showgrounds at Nambour.  The night is a fantastic chance for spectators to get a taste of the rally action before the cars head into the forest.

The forest of Imbil will again play host to the gravel stages of the event, with teams facing a total of 243 competitive kilometres over 18 special stages including a final stage each day of 35 kilometres. Short special stages around the Imbil Forestry complex will bring rallying close to the people and will prove very challenging for the crews.

coates Rally Queensland is run as a round of the ARC and the Queensland State Rally Championship.  It also combines ‘Classic’ and ‘All Comers’ events for other teams who enjoy their rallying.

The event is bound to provide an action packed weekend for everyone. Locations of each spectator point are available at http://www.rallyqueensland.com.au/.

coates Rally Queensland is supported by coates, Sunshine Coast Regional Council, Philcomm Communications, Queensland Events Regional Development Program, Pacific Ford Maroochydore, FleetPartners, Wyndham Vacation Resorts, Hot 91.1 FM and the Sunshine Coast Daily.

Photo: Joel Strickland

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