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Paul Batten Racing has overcome a hectic lead up to take a convincing win during round one of the 2007 Victorian (Hyundai) Excel Series, along with 18th outright, surrounded by a field of 4WD turbo cars.

The Cerberus Stages was held in conjunction with round 1 of the Victorian Rally Championship in what turned out to be atrocious conditions, with the event being cut short.

The decision to compete in the event was only made on the Monday leading up to the rally. The lengthy process then began to turn a 1995 5-door Hyundai Excel "display car" into a rally-ready machine.

Greg Moulden and the students at Kangan Batman Tafe worked tirelessly on the car and were still putting final touches onto the vehicle on the Friday afternoon. The suspension was only installed on the morning of the event, with components borrowed from fellow Excel competitors.

Held in the forests around Nerrim, in Gippsland, the hills did not suit the single cam Excel, but flowing roads suited Batten's driving style, with the team coming away with the Excel series win, second in the under 1600cc class, and third 2WD car home.

The stages were held in slippery conditions and the event was eventually cut short after some huge downpours over the course of the day.

"It's disappointing to see the event cut short, I was really enjoying myself!” Batten said. “The car was great considering our lead-up and we were happy with our speed after six months out of competition.

“I was really able to put into practice some of the things I learnt at the AIS camp, and it definitely helped my driving. We are looking forward to the next round and hopefully giving our Dunlop tyres a run in the dry!"

The team is supported by Stuckey Tyre Service, Rallydrive.com.au, WURTH, Coxy's Motorsport Parts, Pitman Trucks, Hyon Auto parts and Smash repairs and Hubble Photografix.

The next event for Paul Batten Racing is the East Gippsland Stages, round two of the 2007 Victorian Excel Series. The Excel series car will receive some upgrades, including suspension and weight reduction.

Preparations also continue on the team’s 2006 Subaru STI in anticipation for the Rally of Canberra, round three of the Australian Rally Championship.

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