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Four-time Australian Rally Champion, Eli Evans, is likely to bring his Mini Cooper AP4 out of hibernation next year. Evans debuted the Mini in 2017 in Canberra, but the car was fraught with issues and was often off the pace compared to the rival AP4 of Toyota. He swapped out the Mini for a Skoda R5 car for the majority of his title winning 2018 year. While optimistic and planning for the return, things are still yet to materialise fully. “At the moment it’s still a work in progress. I am really excited about going out there and hopefully competing against all these guys,” Evans commented on his 2021 plans. “I honestly think next year, we’ll see a big step forward in the ARC because everyone has been in lockdown at one point throughout the year and everyone has missed out competing. “Our aim is to do the whole season next year. We will get to the first round and if we can be competitive, then that will be mission accomplished. But if it’s not realistic, then it would still be cool to do some rounds, mix it with the best, and prove we still have it. With Evans feeling fresh, the motivation is there to improve the Mini and fight against the factory teams as a privateer. “We have made some changes to our Mini Cooper AP4, which is our sole focus now. We are hoping that once we get the wheel turning, the improvements will give us a really good package and put us in good stead to attack 2021,” Evans added.

Ben Searcy and Eli Evans after winning the tile on 2018. Photo: Peter Whitten

“I don’t plan on joining the ARC without having driven the Mini properly, so we would like to do some extensive testing as there is still a lot to do on it. We will use this summer to really test its limits and see if we can get it to a consistent and competitive level. “If we can get the car to what we think will be a front runner in the ARC, then securing a budget is going to be my next priority. We have a few ideas and we will hopefully get a few parties involved to cement our position in the ARC so we can run all rounds. “Having lockdown this year has given us the ability to take our time with developing the car and reaching that first step. It’s kind of an open book at the moment, but I know I want to get back in the car and see what it can do.” The Australian Rally Championship will begin in 2021 with the National Capital Rally in March.
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