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Team Mitsubishi Ralliart has scored its second heat win in the 2006 NEC Australian Rally Championship, with the Evolution IX Lancer driven by Scott Pedder and Glen Weston victorious in the second leg of Tasmania’s Safari.

The Evo IX finished 16.7 seconds ahead of the Toyota Corolla of Simon and Sue Evans in Sunday’s heat on damp roads in the Huon Valley south of Hobart.

The Subaru of Dean Herridge and Bill Hayes was 37.2 seconds behind the Mitsubishi in third place, while the second factory Toyota of Neal Bates and Coral Taylor trailed the Evo IX by 53.5 seconds.

Pedder and Weston also won the second heat of last month’s Rally Queensland.

They were denied a podium in Tasmania because of an early retirement in the first heat after a rock freakishly ruptured the fuel tank on the opening stage – on which they were second quickest.

While the Evo IX was prematurely out of Saturday’s action, after repairs the car ran faultlessly in Sunday’s 10 stages and has given TMR great confidence as it heads to Rally South Australia, the fifth round of the championship on August 19-20.

TMR won Rally SA last year when Pedder and Weston notched victory in an Evolution VIII Lancer.

“We have come away with more than a win in the second heat in Tassie,” TMR principal Alan Heaphy said.

The Evo IX was not only the best car on Sunday - it was outright fastest on five stages, equal fastest on another, second on two others and third on the other two – but TMR gathered particularly valuable data for Rally SA.

“There was one stage in the Huon Valley on which the conditions were very similar to what we anticipate in SA and we won it quite handsomely, so we’ve already got our preparations well underway for the next round - which is obviously very important because of Mitsubishi’s base in Adelaide.”

Heaphy felt the Evo IX could have won Saturday’s first heat as well if not for the rock incident.

Pedder and Weston were determined Sunday to compensate for the previous day’s misfortune.

“We wanted to prove that we have a car and (Pirelli) tyre combination that can win rallies,” Pedder said.

“Our car has been fast all year and, while we’ve had misfortunes in the first heat of three rallies in a row (Western Australia, Queensland and Tasmania), we’ve shown that we have a winning package.”

Herridge and Hayes won the Tasmanian round courtesy of winning Saturday’s heat and finishing third Sunday. They accumulated 34 points to the Evans’ 33.  

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