Simon and Sue Evans have continued their winning run in the Australian Rally Championship by claiming victory on a shortened Heat 1 of the Great Lakes Rally in NSW.

Although official times from the event had not been confirmed as this report was written, Evans has taken a slender victory over his brother Eli Evans in a Subaru. The Subaru driver had led the event until hitting a rock on stage four and putting his steering out of alignment, which dropped him to second place.

In third place, provisionally, was Steve Glenney in another Impreza WRX, while Spencer Lowndes impressed to take fourth place, ahead of Neal Bates and Dean Herridge.

Ford’s Michael Guest finished the stages in third place, but a fuel problem saw his Fiesta come to a stop on the road section back to service, and he was forced out of the event.

The final two stages of the Heat were then cancelled after communications problems on the stages failed. With no radio communication, organisers had no option but to cancel the final two stages, and the day finished over three hours early, at 12pm.

“It’s a shame because the roads are awesome, but the organisers have had some teething problems, which is unfortunate,” Toyota driver Evans said at the final service.

“My Corolla has been awesome today. It was very slippery as we were sweeping the loose gravel off the road, but fortunately we were able to come home with a win.”

Evans’ win strengthened his grasp on the national championship, although it is unlikely that he will clinch the title before the final round in Melbourne in November.

His younger brother, Eli, was naturally disappointed with his problems. “The car was great but I cut a corner a bit too tight and hit a rock, which bent the steering and made it quite hard to steer,” he said.

Guest was happy with the Fiesta over the opening stages and was looking forward to the afternoon stages, which he believed would suit the nimble Ford, but it wasn’t to be.

Glenney’s third place proved the South Australian’s speed, despite the fact that he had a little difficulty getting used to the different roads in the Great Lakes Rally.

“The roads are fast and quite tricky, but I’m slowly getting a handle on them,” he said.

Bent steering after hitting a rock had slowed Lowndes marginally, but he was more than happy with his fourth place.

Neal Bates grabbed sixth place and was generally unhappy with the handling of his car, which had more oversteer than he liked, but he was confident that he could increase his speed over the Heat 2 stages.

Brendan Reeves had also been on target for a possible top three finish, but a flat tyre ruined his hopes on Stage 3 and he finished seventh.

After the cancellation of the final two stages, disappointed crews then had to fill in the afternoon before Sunday’s seven stages. All have their fingers crossed that the organisational problems that plagued today’s Heat will be rectified by tomorrow morning.

Results, Heat 1
1.    Simon Evans/Sue Evans, Toyota Corolla Sportivo
2.    Eli Evans/Chris Murphy, Subaru Impreza WRX, +2.4s
3.    Steve Glenney/Bernie Webb, Subaru Impreza WRX, +4.1s
4.    Spencer Lowndes/Chris Randell, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, +13.8s
5.    Neal Bates/Coral Taylor, Toyota Corolla S2000, +19.9s
6.    Dean Herridge/Bill Hayes, Subaru Impreza WRX, +22.0s
7.    Brendan Reeves/Rhiannon Reeves, Subaru Impreza WRX, +33.2s

Photo: Redline Photographics


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