Evans aims for unique rally hat-trick
- 31st May 2007, 11:50am
After winning both of the season's first two rounds in Queensland and Western Australia respectively, the reigning NEC Australian Rally Champion will be pushing for his third straight win in Round 3 in the nation's capital.
In 2006 Evans and co-driver wife Sue won two events in a row (as well as Qld and WA) on their way to the title, but could not complete a third.
Next door in the service park, Neal Bates will be focusing on having a solid rally in the world debut of the new Corolla Super 2000 car.
The shapely new car underwent a problem-free shakedown in Queensland in mid-March and the TRD team boss is hoping for a similar outcome in his home event.
Bates won the Canberra round in 2006 with an impressive display to outclass the Mitsubishi of Scott Pedder.
However, the rally's early stages saw Bates and Evans embroiled in a dogfight, before electrical gremlins affected Evans' car.
Despite a 1m20s penalty for being late out of service as the crew tried to fix the problems, Evans drove a stunning rally to finish third.
This year's event sees the return to the ARC of a full night-time stage on Friday, measuring approximately 10km.
Simon Evans, Car #1, Group N (P):
"The roads in Canberra are very narrow, and they can be quite slippery. There are a lot of crests and jumps and the roads can get very rough, particularly on your second pass through them. You need quite a few warning signs in your notes because it is such a challenge. To some extent, the arrival of the new car and the fact that this is Neal's home event takes the pressure off me a little bit. I can concentrate on myself - I'm feeling quite laid back. I'm really looking forward to the night stage, and I think there should be more of them. Night rallying has always been a big part of rally's heritage; I just hope it's not too dusty!"
Neal Bates, Car #2, S2000:
"The roads in Canberra are very tricky;they are really tight, twisty and narrow, but they can also be quite fast and open in some sections. These are the roads that I grew up driving on - I cut my teeth on them. It was fantastic to win my home event last year; obviously it was the highlight of my season. We would love to do the same again this year, but the fact that we are introducing a new car brings an element of the unknown into it. It's probably been 20 years since I've been rallying at night. The night stage on Friday should be quite a spectacle."
The Rally of Canberra begins with the Bluetts night stage on Friday 1 June and finishes on Sunday 3 June.
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