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Returning rally star Simon Evans was thrilled with his performance at the recent Subaru Rally Tasmania, despite a three year absence from the ARC. Speaking to RallySport Magazine today, Evans spoke of his last-minute call up to drive Les Walkden Rallying's WRX in the two-day gravel event. RSM: You finished fourth in Tasmania. What were your impressions were of the car? Simon Evans: I was stoked. I was very happy. The car was brilliant, plenty more potential in it. RSM: Did you do much modification or suspension set-up when you did the testing prior to the rally? SE: I wouldn't say much modification. The car was in the window, there was just a few subtle changes that suit my driving style. That was all. But nothing dramatic. RSM: What sort of areas can it improve in for the next event? SE: There's still more work we can do with the shocks and manage to find a bit more grip. You know, obviously the MRF tyres are different to what I've driven on in the past. It's just getting used to them and what you can expect from them. Just learning to trust them is probably the biggest thing.

Simon Evans is interviewed by Greg Rust at Rally Tasmania.

RSM: What about the performance of the car in relation to cars you've driven in the past? Was it up there with what you expected? SE: Clearly. We were pretty fast. So there was still a little bit left in my driving. I was just keeping it nice and clean and in the lines. So basically I was driving in the middle of the road the whole rally. RSM: Is it a big step up from the Impreza GC8 that you drove in the ARC in 2016? SE: It's a far better car than the GC8. Far better. It's ... well it's like 10 evolutions better. Engine performance is a lot better. The chassis performance is brilliant. It's very responsive. If I made small changes, I could feel them. So, the car's got plenty of potential, I was very happy with it. I was probably a bit surprised by her pace. By how clean I was driving, I didn't think I'd be as close .... considering that I saw the lines that the cars in front were taking. There was quite often times when I was in the middle of the road and I'm looking at them going, "what are they doing out there?" RSM: Is the plan still moving forward to do the Eureka Rally in August? SE: Yep, definitely. RSM: So more testing in the car before then? SE: Yes, that's the plan. Just more time and bit more time with Bernie as well. RSM: How did the new pairing with Bernie Webb work? SE: Excellent. Bernie was fantastic. He's exactly what you would expect from a top level co-driver. It's good, it's just getting used to having his voice as normal. Obviously, I'm very used to Ben (Searcy), so there was a lot of change.

Evans expects the LWR Subaru to be faster still in Ballarat. Photo: Luke Whitten

RSM: To come away with the result that you did is pretty impressive. SE: As I was saying, the team were happy, I was happy. We came back all smiles, the objective was complete. I brought the car home, didn't have a scratch on it, and we were competitive. (It was) in trying conditions as well. The ice. I've never rallied on ice in my life. In all my experience, I've never raced on ice like that. So that was a bit of an eye opener and I was impressed how well the car performed. RSM Are there any more rallies planned between now and Eureka? SE: Just the usual contracts. I've got two Polaris rounds and an off-road championship round, so I've got plenty of driving to do between the next rally. I'll be match fit, anyway. I've done so many kilometres this year, so jumping between cars isn't a huge shock. I think that was the key to a good result as well. No matter what you're driving, as long as you're driving.
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