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Neal Bates and Coral Taylor have secured the 2008 Australian Rally Championship title after finishing ninth in today's Heat 1 of the Coffs Coast Rally.  Needing only to finish today to take the title, Bates and Taylor drove safely throughout the day in the trying conditions and brought their Toyota Corolla S2000 home to give the manufacturer another ARC title.

Bates'  team-mates, Simon and Sue Evans, won Heat 1, 30.1 seconds ahead of surprise second placegetter, Britain's Guy Wilks.  No-one underestimated Wilks' ability - he is a former British Rally Champion - but his Honda Civic Type R was expected to struggle in the wet conditions. He finished ten seconds clear of the younger Evans, Eli.

Fourth place today went to NSW young gun, Nathan Quinn, whilst the brother and sister pairing of Michael Boaden and Helen Cheers, finished the day with a well deserved fifth.

Les Walken Rallying's Michael Guest improved his times throughout the day and jumped to sixth after a slow start.  He finished ahead of Victorians Spencer Lowndes/Chris Randell and Justin Dowel/Matt Lee.

The top ten was completed by Matt Van Tuinen and John McCarthy.

Glen and Matt Raymond were sitting pretty in fourth place for much of the day until two flat tyres resulted in major time losses, and they finished the day 12th.

Coffs Coast Rally, Heat 1 results:

1. S. Evans / S. Evans, Toyota Corolla S2000, 1h05m07.5s
2. G. Wilks / B. Pugh, Honda Civic Type R, +30.1s (diff. to leader)
3. E. Evans / C. Murphy, Subaru Impreza WRX STI, +40.1s
4. N. Quinn / B. Atkinson, Mitsubsihi Lancer Evo V, +1m21.4s
5. M. Boaden / H. Cheers, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI, +1m39.9s
6. M. Guest / D. Green, Subaru Impreza WRX STI, +2m19.5s

Photo: Dallas Dogger

CLICK HERE for the first photos from today's action.

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