Leading Mitsubishi privateer, Spencer Lowndes, is making the final upgrades to his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX in preparation for round three of the 2008 Australian Rally Championship.

Currently sitting equal fourth in the Championship, Lowndes, who has frequently set times inside the top three this year, is hoping to take the extra step onto the podium at coates Rally Queensland, to be held on the Sunshine Coast this weekend.

Lowndes has had a busy month in the lead up to the event, repairing damage caused by a run in with a kangaroo at the second round in Canberra.

“We had a fair amount of damage after round two, but it has meant we have been able to make some important upgrades to the car heading into Queensland,” explained   Lowndes.

“We have continued to develop our suspension set-up so the car should handle the rough sections a lot better now.  The changes will provide us with better lateral grip, which we believe let us down in Canberra.

“We’ve also been working hard on engine response; the power and torque is good, but the car has been lacking response. We’ve done some tuning, so hopefully when we stand on it now it will go quicker.”

After a three-year hiatus from Australian rallying, which included a stint with the Mitsubishi Ralliart team in China, Lowndes will return to the Queensland round for the first time since 2003.

”I’m really looking forward to seeing how the event has changed.  From my experience Queensland was always one of the most exciting rallies on the calendar because the event was so diverse,” he said.

“The event has a really good mix of stages.  The roads vary from wide and fast to some of the most technical and tricky roads in the country, so it should provide a great challenge.”

The Toyota team will be once again the team to beat, but Lowndes is realistic he can get his first podium for the season.

“The recent rains will mean Simon (Evans) won’t be as disadvantaged running first on the road, so unless he has some dramas he should be out in front.  However, the battle has been tough this year and realistically any of the drivers in the top five could take the podium spots. It’s going to be another great rally - bring it on!

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