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Scott Pedder will launch into International Rally of Queensland this weekend determined to bridge the points gap to leader Eli Evans, and to aid him his Renault Sport team have been hard at work extracting even more power out of his Clio’s engine.

At the mid-point in the season Pedder sits in second, just 29 points behind Evans. Both drivers are fully aware that the second half of the season will be as much about being fast on the road as it is staying on the road.

“When I started the season I don’t think anyone, myself included, expected to be this close to Eli at this stage in the Championship,” Scott said.

“I’m sure a lot of people thought I’d been out of the sport too long, that the crash in South Australia would have affected me, and that I’d never driven a front-wheel drive rally car, so really I had a lot to prove. To be honest I’ve totally exceeded even my own expectations at this point!”

“I really spent the first three events of the year learning the car, now I’m ready to go flat out!”

With Evans claiming three wins from three Rounds so far, Pedder remains easily within striking distance, proving consistency is just as important as speed. With half the season gone though, Pedder requested more power from the RaceTorque team, and with assistance from Renault Sport in France, they have granted him his wish.

“We chose the Clio because it was a proven package. The downside was it ran to FIA R3 regs, which have a few less freedoms than the G2 regs in the ARC. On top of that Renault Sport build the Clio engine to be customer friendly, so it’s setup and tuned to be safe.”

“We know the Honda Jazz has more power, it beats us easily powering out of slow corners and on long uphill sections. So we’ve spent the time between Scouts Rally SA and Rally Queensland tuning the engine to maximum power and I have every confidence we’ll be on the Honda’s level once the event starts,” explained Pedder.

“We had looked at upgrading to quad throttle bodies, but in the end we’ve focused on just tuning the engine to achieve the best possible result. We’ve found a huge increase in power and torque just setting the engine up for our fuel, I’m going to comfortably say we’ve gained about 10% across the board.”

Pedder is also confident that Rally Queensland may prove to be the turning point in the season. “I look back at last year, Eli really only had himself to beat but in the first three stages he had three major problems. It’s that type of rally, if you get too comfortable you’ll get bitten!”

“In the scheme of the Championship the 29 points advantage Eli has right now is nothing! If he has a problem, like he did last year, I could leave Queensland being 31 points up instead of currently 29 points down.”

“So I find it interesting to read that he thinks he can dictate the pace. He has everything to play for, just like us, so he better be prepared to go flat out because that’s exactly what I’ll be doing from the very first stage!” Scott declared.

For Pedder the return to Rally Queensland will be his sixth visit to the Sunshine State, but interestingly his first time back since 2006. In the co-driver seat the vastly experienced Dale Moscatt will be able to call upon his previous 14 visits to the event.

“Having Dale alongside is gold, to have all that experience on stages that really haven’t changed that much over the years is hugely beneficial,” stated Scott.

“It’s an event where there are no second chances. And it’s got a bit of everything in it from a drivers perspective, going from the very fast open roads into the narrow and slippery link roads. Throw in patches of red clay and the chance of rain and you really have a massively diverse event.”

“It’s an event I’ve done well at in the past, and I’m looking to keep that going!” he added.
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