Three times Australian Rally Champion Simon Evans has completed a positive test session with Peugeot in France as he looks to secure a drive in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge for 2010.

Evans and his co-driver wife Sue travelled to Clermont-Ferrand in central France where they tested on a six kilometre tarmac road in a Peugeot 207 Super 2000 (S2000) rally car – identical to the one driven to championship victory by Britain’s Kris Meeke this year.

Peugeot has won the last three consecutive Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships with its S2000 cars.

The test presented numerous challenges for Evans; he had not run in a S2000 car in ten months (having won the Australian Championship for 2009 in a Group N car), he had just one week to prepare for the test in near freezing conditions, and had to acclimatise to the tarmac surface – a surface on which Evans has relatively limited experience.

Evans more than met these challenges during the one-day test with a new French Peugeot team aiming to make its IRC season debut in 2010.

He set fast times and continuously improved as he came to grips with the car and the test road, impressing the team in the process.

“It was such a great experience”, said Evans. “The team was fantastic – they looked after us incredibly well.

“The car was by far the best rally car I have ever driven. It gave me so much confidence to keep pushing harder and harder, and I felt really comfortable in it.

“I did exactly what I wanted to do; I drove at nine tenths and didn’t make any mistakes – but above all it seemed I was pretty quick.

“The team gave me some excellent feedback – those guys have been working in Peugeot rally teams for years, so to get such a positive response from them was just brilliant.

“They were quite keen to run me in the championship in 2010 – it all just made me more enthusiastic about the prospect of locking something in.

“Which is where the difficult part starts; we’re going to have to work very hard to come up with the funding to put a deal together for next year.

“After getting a taste of it, I want even more now – I’m more pumped up than ever to get to the IRC.”

The IRC is the rival championship to the WRC, and comprised 11 rounds across Europe, South America, and Africa in 2009.

It includes famous events such as the Monte Carlo Rally, the Safari Rally in Kenya and Rally Sanremo, and will field eight different manufacturers in 2009 – compared to the WRC’s two. 

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