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Last weekend’s NGK Rally of Melbourne saw some tremendous pace from the KME  rallyeSPORT pairing of Brenton Kaitler and Simone Bachmann.  After a successful media/VIP ride day – which included high-speed rides for team supporters Chris Warner and Andrew  Prestage – the team were on display at New Quay, Docklands for the Ceremonial start.  

Poster signings, chats with the team and the opportunity to sit in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI  were all available for the large crowd in attendance.    Saturday morning and Stage 2 – Marginal – saw the winning duo of Simon and Sue Evans in  their Toyota Corolla Sportivo set a time of 12:20.6.  This was almost a full second per  kilometre faster than second place Darren Windus and Jon Mortimer in the Ford Fiesta S2000  Rally.  KME RS were only 1.4 seconds per kilometre slower than Windus, as they blasted their  Lancer into sixth place outright, an amazing achievement given both the difference in  technology and resources and the difficulty of the stage.    Service A saw the identification of a small issue which ultimately led the team to have a spin  in Stages 4 and 5.  Despite this, they still managed to move ahead to fifth outright, with fourth  place only 3.1 seconds away.

Stage 7 – the uphill Mt Slide – saw Kaitler maintain position but lose some precious time to be 9.1 seconds behind fourth.  The KME RS Evo VI is still running a standard engine and  drivetrain package and it is the uphill stages that really hurt the performance.  Nonetheless,  they approached Stage 8 ready to take fourth place – in the morning’s run through Marginal  they were some 6.4 seconds faster than fourth place pairing of Brett Kipling and Fred Gocentas.    Just over seven kilometres into the stage, and the smallest of errors meant a DNF for the team.

“The car  was absolutely perfect”, said Kaitler in the aftermath.  “Everything was operating perfectly to  plan, however we were caught out by a tight downhill right-hander”.  

In such a high-risk sport, where any error can lead to disaster, the team hit a tree at about 60 kmh.  “Obviously, it’s not the result we planned”, said co-driver Simone Bachmann, “however we are really happy with the level of pace shown, in what is predominantly a standard Evo”.  

Added Kaitler, “It is the phenomenal strength of the DMS suspension and Yokohama tyres that allows us to run at  this pace.”

There is a long break ahead as KME rallyeSPORT now prepares for the 2008 season.  “We will be back, stronger from the lessons of 2007 and ready for Rally Queensland in early March”, said Kaitler.

KME rallyeSPORT plan to compete in every round of the 2008 Australian Rally Championship,  with a focus on consistent top 10 finishes as part of their long-term strategy to compete internationally.

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