Evans wins the 2009 Australian Rally Championship
For Immediate Release – 2/8/09
Simon and Sue Evans have won the Sprint Auto Parts Rally SA in the Barossa Valley today in ideal rally conditions, his job made a lot easier when defending champion Neal Bates and co driver Coral Taylor’s S2000 Corolla refused to start today.
I can’t believe it” a dejected Bates commented. The car has been so reliable”.
“We won both stages last night and whilst we had a small wire break yesterday the car ran perfectly. I just don’t understand it.”
Evans in winning this weekend’s rally has also been crowned Australian Rally Champion for 2009, ending a 19 year drought for Mitsubishi. He is now the ARC Champion for the third time joining Colin Bond and Cody Crocker in the history books. Only Ross Dunkerton and the late Possum Bourne have won more championships.
Eli Evans and Glen Weston won the heat today from Simon Evans, 11.5 secs back and Glen and Matt Raymond took out third, 28.1 seconds further back.
Bates took the fight all year to Simon Evans and he opened the account in the first round in Tasmania where he won on Tarmac to Simon Evans, then team mate in the sister Corolla S2000, the Toyota team disbanding after the rally after the withdrawal of Toyota sponsorship.
Round 2 and Simon and Sue Evans entered a leased Race Torque ex APRC MRF EVO 9 Mitsubishi. He won the rally in a new car and Bates was second.
New faces on the Podium in Canberra were Glen and Matt Raymond in the ex Toyota factory Group N (P) Corolla. He drove the rally of his life including two stage wins and this was the event that saw the Raymond duo step up as serious title contenders. Meanwhile, Eli Evans brother of Simon was watching his title chances slip away with a major accident.
The result in Canberra for the Raymond’s was no fluke with them winning the Quit forest Rally in Perth fine style with Bates second and Eli Evans bouncing back after his Canberra accident with 3rd. Simon Evans finishing a distant 7th.
Red Devil Rally QLD saw the Raymond’s take out the win again but Simon Evans entered the Asia Pacific Championship to test himself and his team against the likes of Cody Crocker and Katsu Taguchi both former round and championship winners. He did that convincingly besting them to the rally win and taking maximum ARC points as well.
Simon Evans took out Heat 1 of the Sprint Auto parts Rally SA on Saturday with the Raymond brothers finishing second with Eli Evans 3rd. Bates did not finish.
Heat 2 started on Saturday evening with Bates tarmac experience shining through with consecutive stage wins, setting up the battle for Sunday’s stages.
Bates car would not start on the line today and despite frantic work they could not get the car going, loosing any chance of an ARC victory.
Glen Raymond could not believe his luck but on SS14 drama hit him as well with the car not starting.
“I got out the spare battery pack and connected it up but it made no difference’. Raymond said. He returned to service where their crew with Neal Bates assistance diagnosed a faulty starter.
Despite flying off the road on s tricky left right, Eli Evans damaged his rear suspension for a second time on the weekend, the crew working hard to get it fixed in time.
They were rewarded with Eli and navigator Glen Weston moving into the outright lead after Brother Simon suffering a flat tyre of which he drive on for 8 kilometres, ripping the front guard to shreds.
“I hit a rock on the inside of this corner and the tyre just went flat, we drove on it and we lost about 40 seconds to Eli” He said.
So it was down to the wire for the ‘High Eden” stage a notorious sting in the tail right at the end of the rally.
Eli Evans was leading, but it was Raymond in second but he had Simon Evans only 7 hundredths of a second behind him. One of the best ARC finishes for many years.
Who would win?
Meanwhile, Justin Dowel jumped the Active RallySport Evo IX badly and it landed on its nose, damaging the intercooler and radiator. A battle between Matt Selley, two times SA Rally Champion and Ryan Smart from Queensland was emerging with Smart only 6 seconds behind.
The times came in – Simon Evans won the stage but it was not enough to win the day with Eli Evans winning the heat with Simon Evans second by 11.5 seconds. Glen and Matt Raymond, claiming third spot 28.1 seconds back.
Ryan Smart’s challenge evaporated with the motor problems dashing their chances.
So it went down to the wire and Simon and Sue Evans take the Championship and consistency netting the Raymond brothers 2nd in the ARC. Thy must now be considered championship contenders for 2010. Neal Bates and Coral Taylor performed so well all year, with an engine failure robbing them of second place, finishing 3rd in the ARC.
Sprint Auto SA Rally Results (over 2 heats)
Simon Evans – Sue Evans – Mitsubishi Lancer IX
Eli Evans – Glen Weston – Subaru WRX STi
Glen Raymond – Matt Raymond – Toyota Corolla Group N (P)
Australian Rally Championship 2009 Results
1st Simon and Sue Evans – Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IX Group N 379.5 points
2nd Glen and Matt Raymond Toyota Group N (P) 338 points
3rd Neal Bates and Coral Taylor s2000 Toyota Corolla 271 points
Provisional results subject to approval
Photographer Sarah Biggin