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2007 has been a huge learning curve for North-East Victorian based team  Kaitler Motorsport Engineering Rallye Sport.

Summer of 2006/2007 saw a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6 RS arrive at the team’s factory after a three month wait for it to come from Japan.  Arriving as a standard road car, the team – led by Steven Kaitler and well supported by Adam Kaitler and Rick Anderson – put together the car in three months.

With no test miles behind them, the car was taken to the Cerberus Stages, the first round of the Victorian Rally Championship, before commencing their NEC ARC attack.

Starting car 24, the combination of Brenton Kaitler and Jenna Kelley quickly found their feet and despite never having driven a 4WD turbo monster, established themselves much quicker than anticipated.  By event’s end, they had come within two seconds of winning a stage and finished equal second outright.  A remarkable result given the event was also to be used as shakedown for the following weekend’s coates Rally Queensland.

As a quirky coincidence, KME RS would start Rally Queensland as car 24 also.  This time experienced tarmac co-driver, Tracey Button, joined the team.  This was Button’s first event on gravel, however she quickly stepped up to the plate, and the team had a fast and clean two days of rallying.  

“The stages were some of the fastest and trickiest I’ve ever driven,” Brenton Kaitler said. “Trace did an awesome job in her first event on the dirt and the team did a fantastic job of keeping such a strong car going.  Had we nominated this rally as one of our Rally Challenge events, we would have won by over four minutes!”

Without a single mechanical problem, KME RS ended up 5th in the NEC ARC standings after a hugely successful weekend.  No damage, perfect reliability and only eight tyres used in two days were a tremendous achievement.  

“Not many would realise, but we are running a completely stock standard Evo engine and gearbox, with bullet-proof Ralliart diffs and viscous-coupling added.  All we’ve done is fit the turbo-restrictor, and to give you an idea of how standard the engine is, we only used 140L of 98 octane fuel in the whole rally!” Kaitler said.

A few weeks later the team were ready to embark on the second round of the VRC, the East Gippsland Stages.  Within a kilometre of the start Kaitler misjudged his braking mark and the corner ahead and plunged into a tree in fourth gear.  Kaitler and Kelley were bruised but otherwise ok, however the same could not be said for the Lancer.

The crash has provided a large financial strain on the team, who are self funded.  As such they have missed four events in total, however they will be back in action for the next NEC ARC round, Toyota Kluger Rally SA.  The car will be back and the team are revitalised to make a huge impact on the rest of the ARC.

Whilst they have been away from the ARC, KME RS have been very happy with the performance of their previous car – a Mitsubishi Mirage Cyborg RS – in the hands of the young Molly Taylor.

KME RS would like to thank the efforts of those who have assisted in rebuilding their Evo over the past few months, including Richard Gill, Bruce Howie, Rick Anderson and Steven and Adam Kaitler.

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