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Neal Bates Motorsport will run the current shape Corolla for the first two events of the 2007 Australian Rally Championship, with the Super 2000 mechanicals fitted to it.

The Australian Rally Commission has agreed to allow Toyota to run the mechanicals in the old shape Corolla “subject to the receipt of a suitable recognition document and that dispensation is given with regard to the roll cage and fuel cell which meet current Group N(P) regulations, but are not in accordance with FIA S2000 regulations”.

According to Toyota’s team manager, Darryl Bush, it would be unlikely that the team could have the new shape shell built and tested in time for the first round of the ARC, at the end of March.

“We have a new shape shell that is just about finished, but for the first two events we will run the old shape car with the S2000 mechanicals,” Bush told RallySport Magazine today.

Toyota don’t have another test day planned until early March, and while they have already tested the S2000 mechanicals in the current shape car with much promise, Bush says they are still working to improve last year’s Group N(P) Corolla.

“We’re still chipping away at it because we have customer cars to think about, and there’s always improvements that can be made.

“The engine and transmission are at the end of their development, but the car is still probably a bit heavy, and we are always working on the suspension to produce a better balanced car,” he added.

Neal Bates tested the Super 2000-spec car in early December and was pleased with the initial performance of the car. It was close to the Group N(P) car on the tarmac at Wakefield Park Raceway, and slightly slower than it on the gravel, which all bodes well for the car this year.

Toyota will run one Group N(P) Corolla this year, and one Super 2000 car, but Bush says that a decision on who will drive which car has still not been decided.

“I think they (Neal and Simon) both want to drive the Super 2000 car, because it’s a real driver’s car,” he said. “It sounds fantastic and the crowds are going to love it.

“Neal and Simon (Evans) might have to end up drawing straws to see who gets first choice,” he joked.

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