After a mid-season break the focus of the NEC Australian Rally Championship now turns to the picturesque Adelaide Hills/Barossa Valley region of South Australia. 

The Toyota Kluger Rally SA is the fourth round of the national championship and is being held on roads throughout the Mt Crawford Forest and Adelaide Hills this weekend.

Toyota Racing Development’s Simon and Sue Evans head a large field of 70 entries and are hoping their current form will be strong enough to hold off the bumper field.  Combining entries from the NEC ARC, South Australian Rally Championship and Classics categories, the field will tackle what is regarded as the fastest rally on the NEC ARC calendar.

The Toyota Kluger Rally SA has been designed to have the best spectating opportunities in the events history, with organisers making several changes since last year to ensure that all fans have the best possible weekend out in the forest.

With several ticketing options available for spectators over the weekend, Event Director Ivar Stanelis is encouraging fans to come out and support the teams as they battle it out on the quick roads of SA.

“We have provided several different viewing opportunities to cover all types of spectator preference,” explained Stanelis. "We have reversed the Ridgetops and Forties Stages and have added a jump and water splash to the end of Forties, and the cars will pass through the area in a very different way to previous years."

“While this will be spectacular, the most exciting feature will be the four Super Special stages run under lights on bitumen tracks within the Angaston Oval complex,” said Stanelis.

Designed to be a spectators dream, the Super Special stages will be run on Friday and Saturday nights and with the ticket price of only $5.00 for adults and $2.00 for children, the bumper crowds will get more value than what they paid for. Also, a large range of catering will be available from local providers

TRD’s Neal Bates and Simon Evans completed their official testing session out in the Cromer test area on Tuesday and were happy with the performance of both the teams Super 2000 Corolla and Group N Corolla.

While Evans carries form and confidence into the event, he has not had a great history in South Australia, with it being his lowest scoring round in the past two seasons.

“This event has always been a big challenge for me, but I’m really happy with the way the car is handling and Sue and I are in the zone right now,” said Evans.

“It’s going to be another tough event, and I’m just going to go out there and drive the way I have this whole season. It’s worked so far, so I’m not going to change anything now.”

Pirtek Rally Team Ford also completed and all important testing sessions on Tuesday and while an alternator gremlin caused some minor grief for Guest, he was able to complete the test and is looking forward to the weekend.

"Better to have an issue in a test rather than the event," he commented.

"It wasn't ideal, but we got on with what we wanted to achieve and it's looking very good for the weekend. The car is continually being improved and as a driver that gives me confidence going into the event."

Joining the two manufacturer teams out in the forest will be a host of strong privateers all hoping to find a way to stop the unbeaten run of the Evans'.

South Australian local,  Steve Glenney will be back to defend his 2006 event title, and will have added incentive this year when he hits the forest in his new car as he will be eligible for points in this years round, after registering for the NEC ARC for 2007. 

“We are aiming for a repeat of last year’s effort but it is going to be tough after a 12 month break from the sport, and with the form Simon Evans’ showing, it’s going to be a good challenge,” said Glenney.  “Hopefully it will be a close battle and give us a good start for the rest of the season.”

Spectators wanting to get out in the forest and enjoy the rally action are being encouraged to attend the Super Special stage on Friday evening as well as the popular Forties Spectator area throughout Saturday and Sunday.


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