The teams of Ryan and Rebecca Smart and Simon and Margot Knowles will join forces for the 2010 Australian Rally Championship season and both will campaign ex-Neal Bates Motorsport Toyota Corolla Group N (P) cars.

Having recently had the opportunity to test the cars in Canberra with Neal Bates, both Ryan and Simon were excited at the prospect of stepping into these very competitive cars.

Ryan was ecstatic after the test session: “I can’t believe how comfortable I felt in the car straight off the bat.   These cars are so well engineered and the total package will really provide me with the right tools for what I’m trying to achieve in 2010.”

Ryan showed great potential during 2009, competing in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI with a podium finish in Queensland and consistent top five finishes throughout the year.  

“The Group N(P) Corolla will take me to the next step with more podium finishes in 2010 and a stronger contender for the championship next year,” he added.

The Knowles’ have been regular competitors in the ARC since 2005: starting with a Class P3 front-wheel drive car then progressing to the Evo VI and now the Group N (P) Corolla.

“We’ve had some really strong results during 2009 and basically finished top ten at each round except SA,” Knowles said.  “I guess the choice for us with the Evo for next year was a potentially costly refresh of the car and still be in an older car, or take the plunge into something newer.  To be competitive at this level you need to keep stepping up!”

The two teams joined forces for a number of rounds in 2009 combining transport, parts and service crews.  

“Our service teams really work well together and it seemed the best move for both Ryan and us to again be in the same cars,” Simon added.

The teams will receive on-going technical and parts support from Neal and the team at Neal Bates Motorsport to ensure they achieve the best results with the two new cars.
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