TRD start season with 1-2 in WA
- 6th April 2008, 12:24pm
The TRD 1-2 capped a strong showing from the Toyota team who were running two S2000-spec Corollas for the first time.
The Evans duo put in a commanding performance during Heat 1's afternoon stages, an effort highlighted by their run on Stage 8 that saw them pull a clear gap over Bates and Taylor after closest challenger Michael Guest rolled his Subaru onto its side.
Reigning drivers' champion Simon Evans was pleased with his improved pace during the afternoon runs, but is still learning the intricacies of his new naturally-aspirated Corolla.
Bates finished 1m28.2s behind Evans and finished Heat 1 strongly, tying with Evans on the second-last stage at Nannup Oval, before winning the heat's final stage prior to the teams regrouping tonight for the opening two stages of Heat 2 at Busselton.
Heat 2's first two stages are a re-run of last night's tarmac Busselton Toyota Super Special Stage, before competitors move back to the forests around Nannup on Sunday for the conclusion of the heat and the event.
Simon Evans, Car #1 - S2000 Corolla:
"It feels good to be the first driver to win an ARC heat in an S2000 car, but we are still very focussed on the job at hand so it really hasn't had a chance to sink in. The roads were swept this afternoon and as a result everything had a lot more grip so we were a little faster. Either way this is a fantastic result for Toyota and for the S2000 category - it's something I love and I am really pleased Sue and I have made the transition so smoothly. We are going to make a few changes ahead of Heat 2 but it won't be anything too far from what we have now."
Neal Bates, Car #2 - S2000 Corolla:
"The result is definitely a great one for the team and for Toyota. I didn't have the best run and Michael Guest's roll-over helped secure me second - these things come your way every once in a while so you have to take them when you can. All-in-all it was a great day. The roads were really good again but we were a bit off the pace. It is nothing that I can pinpoint at the moment but we'll have a think about it and make some changes to try and improve things before we hit the forests again tomorrow. Obviously I am looking forward to the tarmac stages tonight and to repeating last night's two wins."
Australian Rally Championship
Quit Forest Rally - Heat 1
1) Simon Evans Toyota Corolla S2000 1:05:50.7
2) Neal Bates Toyota Corolla S2000 +1:28.2
3) Alex Stone Subaru Impreza WRX +3:45.4
4) Justin Dowel Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +4:35.1
5) Spencer Lowndes Mitsubishi Lancer EVO +6:16.0
6) Darren Windus Subaru Impreza WRX +6:17.5
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