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West Australian privateer Dean Herridge has split the Toyota Racing Development drivers Simon Evans and Neal Bates at the QUIT Forest Rally, in Nannup WA today.

Steady rain falling throughout last night and today played a part in the day's proceedings and resulted in the first stage of the morning being shortened due to safety concerns.

“We’ve made the decision to take the first 6 or 7 kilometres off the Brockman stage,” explained Clerk of Course' Ross Tapper' this morning. “Crews will transport to a junction after the worst of the stage and start from there. It was purely a safety call.”

Battling roads that had been transformed by the heavy showers falling throughout the day and a centre differential problem which caused him to drive in real-wheel drive for most of the day, Herridge powered past Pirtek Rally Team Ford'’ Michael Guest and TRD’s Neal Bates in the final stages to take second place in heat two.

“In the end we’ve managed another good point result.  It’s a result we probably did not deserve considering all our problems but I’m happy to come away from the weekend with some points,” said Herridge.

TRD’s Simon Evans was once again untouchable throughout the day, topping the time sheet in each stage, handing him another heat win ahead of Herridge.

“It was difficult out there today, but the stages definitely improved as the day went on. It was still slippery out there but by the afternoon we were finding some grip in places,” explained Evans.

“I really enjoy coming out here to WA, the roads throw out some interesting challenges we don’t see in the other rounds of the championship,” said Evans.

The performance of the Super 2000’s was the highlight of the day with both TRD’s Neal Bates and Pirtek Rally Team's Michael Guest surprising everyone with their speed and balance on the slippery roads.

“The difference between a Group N and an S2000 is that the S2000 doesn’t have the torque so you can’t just go up a gear and drive through the slippery patches,” explained Bates.

“With the S2000, to get it to work, you have to be on the power all the time and in the wet that just means wheel-spin. If you go up a gear you loose power and if you go down a gear you get even more revs and wheel-spin more. It’s very difficult to find a balance and that’s why I’m as surprised as anyone by our times!” he continued.

Pirtek Rally Team Ford’s Michael Guest began to show spectators the true potential of the Super 2000 Fiesta posting top two stages times for most of the day. However, a fire under the bonnet and a ruptured brake line hampered his speed through the afternoon stages.

“I enjoy driving in the wet, always have, so that helps!” Guest laughed. “Despite the engine fire this morning and the loss of brakes just before that, the highlight of my day has been being crapped on by a seagull this morning!”

Guest’s hard work however, came undone when he was handed a 10 second penalty for jumping the start in stage 19, pushing him to fourth place as the rally came to a close.

Pirtek Ford team mate Darren Windus had a consistent day out in the forest finishing in fifth position, but admitted the conditions didn’t suit his driving style.

“I’m the type of driver who doesn’t like the wet,” Windus revealed. “I like to feel what the car is doing underneath me and in these types of conditions the car just floats around and that dents my confidence.”

 With the exception of Will Orders who came in ninth, the rest of the top 10 was made up of WARC competitors.  Robert Herride (father of Dean) finished in sixth, followed by Chris Anderson, Leigh Hynes, and James Anderson in 10th.

Taking out heat two’s Challenger category was former local, co-driver Scott Beckwith and driver John Berne.

“It was fantastic to come back and compete in the places where I grew up and in the forest where I spent hours watching the stars of the 60’s and 70’s, said Beckwith. “On top of all that, to get the result we achieved today was just fantastic.”

Toyota Racing Development’s Simon Evans stood on the podium in first overall position for the weekend, with Dean Herridge in second and Evans' TRD team mate Neal Bates in third.

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