Toyota finish 1-2 in Rally Tasmania finale
- 15th February 2009, 7:42pm
Neal Bates and Coral Taylor have rewarded Toyota with a fine win in Rally Tasmania today by a margin of 12.5 seconds. Team mates Simon and Sue Evans backed them up in true team fashion with second place. Bates was never headed for position over the entire weekend, demonstrating clear domination of ARC tarmac rallying in Australia.
Tony Quinn won the modern section of the rally in a Nissan R35 GTR.
Bates and his teammate Evans emotionally thanked Toyota at the finish for their commitment to rallying and Bates thanked them for 19 years of support - one of the longest sponsorship associations in Australian motorsport history.
Eli Evans, in the Tankformers Subaru, rounded out the podium placings. Eli and Simon will have a two car team for the next event under the family business banner of Evans Builders. Over the course of the rally, Eli scored four fastest times. He commented, "I used all of the tarmac and the gravel and the a few of the banks to try and catch Simon today!â€
Brendan Reeves finished fourth in the Les Walkden Rallying Subaru. He was surprised at the speed of the front runners and is hoping to have a budget so he can compete in future rounds of the ARC.
Dean Herridge battled with car setup all weekend with the Targa car not tuned to ARC specs.
The rally concluded in Burnie Park where a gala concert was playing to raise funds for the Victorian bushfire appeal and rally teams gave generously.
The Australian Rally Championship has run for 40 years with 19 of those with a factory team from Toyota headed by Neal Bates. Today is the end of an era but itâ€™s not the last we will see of Bates and his team of dedicated rally professionals.
To Toyota, thank you for your support of Australian Rallying. Neal Bates and Coral Taylor now lead the Australian Rally Championship. The next round of the ARC is the Rally of Canberra on 7-8 March.
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