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Toyota Racing Development’s Simon Evans has continued where he left of at last months coates Rally Queensland claiming Heat One of the QUIT Forest Rally in the Nannup Forest, in South West WA today.
 
Evans’ pace was on display throughout the day only dropping one stage (Ellis 1) to Maximum Motorsport’s Dean Herridge, who finished second overall, 29secs behind Evans.
 
 “I made some refinements to the suspension, went a bit softer than I’ve gone before, and that just gave the car so much grip,” explained Evans in service.
 
“It seems we’re finding 1% here and there but every little change seems to be in a positive direction. I couldn’t be happier with the car, it’s just so comfortable to drive quickly, and that’s all I can put the time we’ve gained down to,” said Evans.
 
West Australian privateer, Dean Herridge who was enthusiastic about the cars performance throughout the day and just happy to take a stage win, was not concerned about the gap to Evans. 
 
“I’ll take a stage win off Simon Evans wherever I can these days,” laughed Dean. “I’m keeping in touch with Simon which is the main thing, unlike Queensland where we ended up second but over a minute behind. We’re close enough that if he has a problem we’ll be in reach to take advantage.”
 
Despite leading overnight Neal Bates was unable to hold off his charging Toyota team mate or Herridge, falling back into third.
 
“We made some changes to the car that didn’t work out, I’m going to be changing them back straight away,” Neal commented, and while he didn’t elaborate on the changes it is believed to centre around the Corolla’s suspension.
 
With constant grip changes throughout today’s stages, all drivers were pushed to their limits.
 
“It’s weird – this morning I thought the first two stages were going to be really slippery and they weren’t. Then at service I thought the last two stages were going to have good grip and they were slippery. So in truth it’s really easy to get caught out,” said Simon Evans.
 
Unfortunately for the Evans clan, Simon’s younger brother Eli came unstuck on stage five, leaving the road on a fast right hander ending up in the trees.  The trouble continued for the Evans Motorsport entrant with leaking oil starting some grass fires around the stranded car.
 
“The corner really tightened and we hadn’t called it when we were doing reccy, so we came in flat out, we just went too hard,” explained Evans. “Our left rear hit a stump then we went down a slight bank and straight into a tree.”

The fire required the available fire extinguishers of Will Orders, Darren Windus and Michael Guest and was quickly under control, but meant for safety reasons all three were re-routed back to service, bypassing stage six. 
 
“The reason they sent us back to service was because we didn’t have fire extinguishers and it’s unsafe in case say we crashed and had a fire ourselves,” said Windus
 
Despite an internal problem with the Super 2000 Sadev transmission, which was affecting both cars gear selection in the morning stages, it was a positive day for Pirtek Rally Team Ford. 
 
Michael Guest’s fourth place in the Fiesta’s third ever heat was a great result for the team.
 
“Our plan for today was to finish top six so it was a good result for us,” said Guest.  “We’ve proven today that the car is reliable, now all we’ve got to do it make it fast.”
 
The final decision over the placing’s of team mate Darren Windus and privateer Will Orders will be confirmed tonight after disputes over the derived times allocated to both drivers for the uncompleted stages five and six.
 
Brendan Reeves, Glen Raymond, James Anderson and Chris Anderson rounded out the top 10 at the end of Heat One. 
 
The action will continue tonight on the Busselton Foreshore with a repeat of last nights super special stage, before cars head back out into the Nannup Forest tomorrow.

Results, Heat 1:
1. Simon Evans, Toyota Corolla, 1h02m14.4s
2. Dean Herridge, Subaru Impreza, WRX, +29.1s
3. Neal Bates, Toyota Corolla S2000, +1m02.3s
4. Michael Guest, Ford Fiesta S2000, +1m17.8s
5. Will Orders, Subaru Impreza WRX, +2h00.9s
6. Darren Windus, Ford Fiesta S2000, +2m01.9s
7. Brendan Reeves, Subaru Impreza WRX, +2m12.4s
8. Glen Raymond, Subaru Impreza WRX, +2m35.7s
9. James Anderson, Subaru Impreza WRX, +3m03.9s
10. Chris Anderson, Subaru Impreza WRX, +3m18.9s

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