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Tasmanian driver Simon Jansen will have an added battle on his hands entering this weekend’s fifth round of the Australian Rally Championship, the Toyota Rally of South Australia.  

This will be Jansen’s first visit to the event so not only will he be tackling the roads for the first time, but also trying to retain his top spot on the leader board in the Privateers’ BP Challenge.

Since moving from a two-wheel drive Daihatsu to a four-wheel drive Mitsubishi Evolution 3 less than a year ago, Jansen has already had some stand-out performances.  He finished a credible second in the BP Challenge and seventh outright at both Rally Queensland and Subaru Safari Tasmania, which have seen the Tasmanian take a surprise 12 point lead in the championship – a lead he’ll be wanting to extend on this weekend.

“We certainly didn’t expect to be leading the BP Challenge in our first year in a four-wheel drive, there’s certainly been a few heart in the mouth moments while I’ve been trying to find the limits and at times have possibly gone past the capabilities of a 10 year old car,” Jansen said.

“It’s also been a steep learning curve with regard to the car’s set up but the team have been constantly making improvements and the times have improved as a result.   Our aim this weekend will be to work on our speed as the roads are known for being some of the fastest in the country, and also to finish with enough points to remain in the lead.”

Jansen admitted that this wasn’t going to be easy. “There’s so many talented drivers in the BP Challenge, many with bigger budgets and greater resources than us, but so far our consistency has paid off and I’m hoping that if we can find the right mix of speed and reliability and accumulate good points then we’ll be in a great position heading into final the round in Melbourne.”

The Toyota Rally of South Australian will be held in the Barossa Valley this weekend.

Current BP Challenge Leader Board
1. Simon Jansen/Elysia Kruper, Mitsubishi Evolution 3, 64 points
2. Bruce Fullerton/Hugh Reardon/Smith, Subaru Impreza WRX STI, 52 points
3. Jesse Robinson/Samantha Robinson, Subaru Legacy, 50 points
4. Will Orders/Toni Feaver, Subaru Impreza WRX STI, 48 points

Photos: Joel Strickland

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