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Three-time Australian Rally Champions Neal Bates and Coral Taylor head into the Toyota Kluger Rally of South Australia with just one event, the Rally of Canberra, under their belts in the brand new Corolla Super 2000 rally car.

Fortunately for the TRD team, Canberra turned out to be very successful for the new car on debut.

Bates had the honour of christening the new car in the nation's capital, which the team painstakingly worked on for nearly five months.

It was a tremendously exciting performance for the entire team, with Bates recording a podium finish in the car's very first appearance.

However, the third place could have been a second place were it not for a sharp rock cutting a tyre in heat one and costing the Bates and Taylor combination a huge chunk of time.

The pair fought back to finish third in heat one before some impressive stage times from the new car saw Bates claim second in heat two.

It was not only an encouraging performance from the new car, but an educational one as the TRD team spent the event learning the intricacies of the Corolla.

The two-month break between events has seen the TRD crew make changes to the car from the lessons they learned from the vehicle's inauguration in Canberra.

"After the Canberra round we tested the new car again, which was a valuable opportunity to evaluate some of the things we learned on its debut," Neal Bates said.

"It is a tremendously exciting car to drive. Just like a real race-car - it's loud, really fast, short gear changes with the sequential 'box, and you really work hard behind the wheel.

"We did not have one mechanical problem all weekend. To have no reliability issues and the pace we did in the car's first ever event is a remarkable achievement by the team.

"There is still a fair way to go with it, but if someone told me I was going to be second halfway through the championship after the development work we've been doing I would have laughed at them.

"We need to get a bit more grip out of the car; it does not quite have the corner speed that we want yet, and we need to get some more weight out of it, because it is still over the minimum weight for S2000 cars.

"It's also about fine-tuning the set-up to make it a bit better to drive - all the improvements are little things. There are not any huge things that need fixing, which is very good for a new car."

The South Australian event is a favourite of Bates, who is looking forward to trying out the lessons learned on the flowing roads.

"South Australia will be about building on what we have learned about the new car so far - it will be a bonus if we can achieve another good result there.

"I love this event because the roads have fantastic grip and you can tell by the amount of fans that keep coming back every year that it is really popular."
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