Eli Evans has broken his CAMS Australian Rally Championship (ARC) drought, winning the Make Smoking History Forest Rally in Nannup, Western Australia today.
The win is the first for Evans since the Scouts Rally SA in 2015, the first for the Tankformers driver since pairing with a new co-driver Ben Searcy at the end of 2017, and provisionally puts Evans/Searcy into the ARC points lead after two rounds.
“It’s such a relief, it probably hasn’t sunk in yet until we do the champagne spray,” Evans said.
“From winning so many rallies in a row and being so successful to being two and a half years without a win it was hard and I actually did start to doubt myself, but this has given me a huge hit of confidence and excites me about the Mini Cooper at the next event and what we need it to do to beat Steve (Glenney), Harry (Bates) and Molly (Taylor),” Evans said.
“We’re not quite there yet with our car but I’m confident we can try and replicate what this Skoda R5 can do and it shows that it’s fast out there.”
“The guys are driving fast, yeah it looked like we did it easy but Ben and I were on it all weekend,” he continued.
“This car has a completely different feel to the Mini and I was probably going the wrong way with the set up we were trying to achieve, so it’s something we will completely revise.”
“We made a lot of changes before this event, hence why we couldn’t get it ready, but now I’ll completely revise again and we’ll try and get some testing before Canberra.”
Eli Evans on his way to victory. Photo: ARC
After missing half of Heat One stuck in a ditch, Harry Bates and John McCarthy did their best to make up for lost points today, taking the only forest stage win off Evans just prior to lunch.
However, they were unable to make a dent in the lead finishing the Heat in second and fifth overall for the round.
Back in the West Australian forests for the first time in a decade, Steve Glenney and his co-driver Andy Sarandis backed up their second outright placing at Targa Tasmania last weekend standing in second position on the Forest Rally podium today.
“The roads over here in Western Australia are brilliant, I love them, but they are so tricky,” Glenney said.
“So much concentration is required but I guess we got away with it,”
“You’ve just got to be so careful with every corner. Every time you try to push or go wide you risk losing it, so we kept it at a level that was comfortable and were able to come away with a good result,” he continued.
“The car was good right through until the end, so it’s testament to the reliability of the Subarus as a proven product.”
Molly Taylor and Malcolm Read finished on the event podium. Photo: Joel Strickland/Subaru
“They don’t quite have the pace of these lightweight little rocket ships but perhaps that the tortoise and the hair thing in the championship,” Glenney concluded.
The battle for the third spot on the podium came down to the final stage of the rally with Molly Taylor and Malcolm Read holding off a fight from Glen Raymond and Kathryn Catford to take the result.
“A podium was our goal coming into the rally so we are very happy to have achieved that. We just had to work very hard to get there,” Taylor said.
“The Subaru is incredibly strong and reliable and has proven it is competitive.”
“It’s good for the championship to have so many different cars and the new evolution of cars will push us and make us stronger,”
“At the end of the day, there are two of us on the podium (Subarus), so it’s testament to the WRX,” she concluded.
Glen Raymond won both Heats in the ARC2 class, winning comfortably over Brad Markovic and Toni Feaver and Ross and Lisa Dunkerton.
CAMS Australian Rally Championship
1. Eli Evans/Ben Searcy – Skoda Fabia R5
2. Steve Glenney/Andy Sarandis – Subaru WRX STI
3. Molly Taylor/Malcolm Read – Subaru WRX STI
4. Glen Raymond/Kathryn Catford – Subaru Impreza WRX STI
5. Harry Bates/John McCarthy – Toyota Yaris
6= Brad Markovic/Toni Feaver – Subaru Impreza WRX
6= Lewis Bates/Dale Moscatt – Toyota Corolla
8. John O’Dowd/Tom Wilde – Subaru Impreza WRX STI
9. Adrian Coppin/Erin Kelly – Skoda Fabia R5
10. Ross Dunkerton/Lisa Dunkerton – Subaru Impreza WRX STI
1. Glen Raymond/Kathryn Catford
2. Brad Markovic/Toni Feaver
3. Ross Dunkerton/Lisa Dunkerton
4. Haowen Chu/Glenn Alcorn
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