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An increased numbers of interstate competitors are leading the charge for the opening round of the 2008 Australian Rally Championship season, the QUIT Forest Rally.

Held out of the coastal town of Busselton and the forests of Nannup in Western Australia, the QUIT Forest Rally means a long trek across the Nullarbor for the interstate crews that will take on the event.

Two time defending Australian Rally Champion, Toyota Racing Development’s Simon Evans, as well as his team mate, Neal Bates, will be leading the charge over to the rally and will join a further 54 crews who will be competing for various titles across the weekend.

“I can’t wait to get back out in the forest; I’ll be in a new car this year (a Super 2000 Toyota Corolla) and it’s going to be really exciting to drive,” Evans said.

“Perth is one of my favourite events; I love the atmosphere and the roads really reward aggression which is great for me, because that’s how I drive. It’s going to be a great event!”

With the number of interstate crews, as well as ARC registered crews, increasing since 2007 QUIT Forest Rally, Clerk of Course, Ross Tapper, is encouraging spectators to get out in force and support the drivers.

“The Busselton Toyota Super Special Stages held on Friday and Saturday nights give spectators the opportunity to get a taste of the excitement of rallying, however the real action happens out in the forest,” said Tapper.

“Once again we have been able to offer free entry to all our spectator points out in the forest is a huge credit to all our sponsors,” he continued.

Current West Australian Rally Champion, Alex Stone, will be leading the local charge taking on the interstate teams and is looking for a good result in his home event.

Another WA local, former Ford factory driver, Darren Windus, will be back out in the Nannup Forest in a Subaru Impreza WRX and is hoping for a strong finish after reliability issues saw him retire from his home event in 2007.

Windus will be joined by a host of top ten competitors, with Eli Evans, Spencer Lowndes and Michael Guest all sure to challenge Windus and the TRD drivers for a spot on the podium.

The QUIT Forest Rally kicks off on the Busselton Foreshore at 6pm on Friday, April 4.

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