Current Australian Rally Champions, Simon and Sue Evans, head the field of 56 crews entered in round two of the NEC Australian Rally Championship, the Quit Forest Rally, which will be held in the Busselton and Nannup areas south of Perth on April 27 – 29.

The formidable Evans team, driving the Toyota Racing Developments Toyota Corolla Sportivo will start as event favourites after winning every stage of the first round, coates Rally Queensland recently and will be keen for a repeat performance. TRD boss Neal Bates will back up the Evans’ in his new S2000-spec Corolla and will be hoping to improve on the car’s potential which was shown in Queensland.

Local Perth driver, Darren Windus, now part of the 2-car Pirtek Ford Fiesta S2000 team with Michael Guest, will be out to show his knowledge of the tricky Western Australian roads and keen to put his first-round mechanical problems behind him. Pirtek Ford lead driver, Michael Guest, who also had mechanical problems in Round 1, is sure to put in a determined effort to get some early season runs on the board in his screaming Fiesta and is expected to challenge Bates for a podium finish.

Another local driver, Dean Herridge, is never one to be discounted and could prove to be the cat amongst the pigeons. His smooth, consistent driving and knowledge of the WA forest roads, will prove to be a valuable asset. Herridge is a regular finisher in the top three and will be keen to display his performance in front of his home crowd.

Attention during the 2-day event will also be focused on two ‘young guns’ of Australian rallying, Eli Evans and Brendan Reeves. The two Victorians, who finished second and third respectively behind Simon Evans in Queensland, will be out to prove that their Round 1 performance was no fluke. Both drivers are certain to put on a spectacular display from the first special stage onwards on Saturday April 28.  However Evans and Reeves will need to look in their rear view mirrors for the sight of yet another Victorian, Will Orders, who will be out to prove his mettle in a Subaru WRX Sti. With local WA co-driver Toni Feaver, herself a veteran of many seasons of ARC rallying, beside him, Orders could well be the one to upset the domination of his Garden State counterparts, given his impressive performances over the past few seasons.

Driving her 2-wheel drive Mitsubishi Mirage, young 18-year old NSW driver, Molly Taylor, daughter of Neal Bates’ co-driver, Coral Taylor, will be making her first trip to Western Australia in her debut year in the NEC Australian Rally Championship. The young star has already shown enormous talent in previous events and is regarded as a rising star by her peers.

As well as the regular ARC competitors, a host of local crews will contest the second round of the Western Australian Rally Championship which is being run in conjunction with the Quit Forest Rally ARC component. Fifty six crews will line up for what promises to be a hard-fought event.

The rally will kick off with a revised Busselton special stage on the Busselton foreshore on the Friday evening, a stage that will be repeated on the Saturday evening as the start of Heat 2. Clerk of Course of the Quit Forest Forest Rally, Ross Tapper is encouraging locals to come out and watch the action. “Running two stages at night around the foreshore is a great way of showcasing rallying to the public,” he said. “And it encourages people to come out into the forest to see the real rally action.”

For the first time there will be free entry to all spectator areas throughout the Quit Forest Rally, thanks to the generosity of the event’s sponsors Healthway, Busselton Toyota, Eventscorp, Bayview Geographic Resort, Shannons Insurance, Easifleet, The West Australian, Hot FM, Fineline Print, Trade Hire, and the Busselton and Nannup Shires.

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