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Neal Bates has started his Repco Rally Australia campaign in style, setting the quickest time in a Production World Rally Championship shakedown for the event yesterday.

Driving his locally-built Toyota Corolla S2000, Bates clocked 1min 49.1sec, comfortably ahead of Norwegian Evyind Brynildsen in a Mitsubishi Lancer at 1:50.17. Eli Evans was third at 1:50.8 in his Subaru Impreza.

"That looks pretty promising," Bates told the Herald Sun. "I'm very happy to have a few runs through the stage and to have the car running well.

"It felt very slippery at first but once I got more into the groove it seemed to be working well."

Cody Crocker, driving a Les Walkden Rallying Subaru Impreza WRX, set a time of 1m51.5s.

"I've still got some things to do," Crocker said. "I'm just glad it's happening."

Source: Herald Sun

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