Bates fastest in Rally Qld shakedown
- 8th May 2009, 2:11pm
Bates and Taylor (Corolla S2000) were fastest around the Nambour Showgrounds Super Special Stage in a time of 1m23.0s â€“ one-second better than championship rivals Simon and Sue Evans (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9).
Three-time Asia-Pacific Champion Cody Crocker was third on 1m25.1s, from rising Australian star Brendan Reeves (1m25.4s) and Eli Evans (1m25.5s).
Bates is carrying Red Devil signage on his car this weekend to recognise the entry of the sports drink into Australian motorsport.
Bates and Taylor start from position 15 in this event behind a strong field of Asia-Pacific cars, contesting the Australian round of their title.
Drying conditions in the forest could remove some of the disadvantage of Batesâ€™ starting position.
â€œIf the road continues to dry the deep mud which hampered road assessment may disappear, making it easier to compete,â€ Bates said.
Officials have reported that a day of sun has made the rally stages far drier, although patches of slick mud lie beneath the tree canopies.
â€œThere are at least six stages which still could be treacherous,â€ Bates said.
Four-time national champions Bates and Taylor lead this yearâ€™s Australian championship at the halfway stage by just 13 points from former team-mates and now arch-rivals Simon and Sue Evans.
Bates said the Red Devil signage on his car was a way of welcoming the sports drink company to motorsport in Australia.
Red Devil Rally Queensland officially gets underway tonight with a ceremonial start at Nambour Showgrounds, before action commences tomorrow on the forest roads around the rallyâ€™s base at Imbil.
Australian Rally Championship
Red Devil Rally Queensland
1) Neal Bates â€“ Toyota Corolla S2000 1m23.0s
2) Simon Evans â€“ Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +1.0s
3) Cody Crocker â€“ Subaru Impreza WRX +2.1s
4) Brendan Reeves â€“ Subaru Impreza WRX +2.4s
5) Eli Evans â€“ Subaru Impreza WRX +2.5s
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