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Evans brothers the big winners as Simon wins the rally and Eli the heat in Sprint Auto Parts Rally SA

Simon and Sue Evans clinched the Sprint Auto Parts Rally SA Today with Second in Heat two

The Evans family has dominated the final leg of the 2008 Sprint Auto Parts Rally SA as both Simon and Eli Evans triumphed today in challenging, wet and extremely slippery conditions.

It was a day of domination from the Victorian-based family as Simon and Sue Evans powered their Toyota Corolla S2000 entry from Team TRD to the outright win whilst Simon’s younger brother Eli clinched heat two in stunning fashion this afternoon.

Eli won 4 stages today and overhauled his brother on the 22km Floodways stage (SS18) after both of the Team TRD Corollas spun in the same spot and lost precious time after leading early.

The 24-year old Subaru driver – with co-driver Chris Murphy - then withheld a late charge from his brother in the final two stages to record his second heat win from the past three ARC heats. Eli won heat two by just 6.9 seconds.

Two-time champ Simon Evans recorded his first overall victory of the 2008 season today and finished second in the heat, trading times with both his younger brother and team boss Neal Bates during the day only to be overhauled by his younger brother after dropping 15 seconds on SS18.

Neal Bates finished third in today’s heat and third overall in the rally to consolidate his large championship lead.

"That was a very hard win in really tough conditions. The weather on those last few stages was just incredible,” Simon Evans said.

”Eli did an amazing job in the wet, so congratulations to him. We still have a little bit of work to do on out wet set-up, but we learnt a lot today. To come back from the crash in the last round and to win, driving the S2000 Corolla as hard as we did, in extremely slippery conditions is a real testament to the whole team."

It was a day of fantastically close competition between the top three; the leading margin never more than two seconds for the first seven stages that made up heat two.

”It was a great day, we’re really pleased with the result,” Eli Evans said. “The conditions were really challenging and both Simon and Neal put up a great fight.”

Neal Bates extended his championship lead with third outright, two rounds remaining to decide the series champion.

"The bad weather really set in during the final three stages, but to score first and third in weather like that is great for the team,” Bates said.

”We took a great haul of points this weekend as well which consolidates our position in the championship, so although we lost a little ground this afternoon when we spun, we will leave South Australia pretty happy."

Spencer Lowndes and Chris Randell finished a solid fourth outright, 39s behind Bates and Taylor but a comfortable 2:04 ahead of the Victorian combo of Justin Dowell and Matt Lee. Today's heat results mirrored those of the rally overall.

It was a battle of attrition in the SARC, with most of the expected leading contenders falling to the wayside to allow Brett Kipling and Darren Masters to take the heat win.

It was a stunning comeback for the Port Wakefield crew after rolling yesterday and then being hit by another car as well.

The Subaru of Matt Selley had led the local competitors early and had run as high as seventh outright – before clipping an obstacle on SS 17 (Eden High) and damaging an axle and the rear suspension. SARC heat one winner Declan Dwyer lost an engine on the same stage whilst the Galant VR4 combination of Gary Brown and Mike Dale had looked set for a top three result in class before they too crashed soon after, on SS 18 (Floodways).

Leigh and Justin Stokes won the Clubman / Classic section with a consistent performance today in their Datsun 180B.

Overall Results – Sprint Auto Parts Rally SA – Event Points (Top five)
1 Simon Evans / Sue Evans - 75 points (includes 1 bonus point for most stage wins)
2 Eli Evans / Chris Murphy - 70
3 Neal Bates / Coral Taylor - 64
4 Spencer Lowndes / Chris Randell - 52
5 Justin Dowel / Matt Lee - 42

Overall Standings – Sprint Auto Parts Rally SA – Leg Two Results
1. Eli Evans / Chris Murphy (Tankformers Subaru Impreza STi) 57:19.4
2. Simon Evans / Sue Evans (Team TRD – Toyota Corolla S2000) + 6.9s
3. Neal Bates / Coral Taylor (Team TRD – Toyota Corolla S2000) + 17.7
4. Lowndes / Chris Randell (Access Hardware Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) + 56.0
5. Justin Dowel / Matt Lee (Activ Rallysport Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution) + 3:00.3

Overall Standings – Sprint Auto Parts Rally SA – Leg One Results
1. Simon Evans / Sue Evans (Team TRD – Toyota Corolla S2000) 1hr03:6.8
2. Neal Bates / Coral Taylor (Team TRD – Toyota Corolla S2000) + 40.7
3. Eli Evans / Chris Murphy (Tankformers Subaru Impreza STi) + 1:20.9
4. Spencer Lowndes / Chris Randell (Access Hardware Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) +2:19.4
5. Glen Raymond / Matt Raymond (Raymond’s Accountants Toyota Corolla Sportivo) +2:21.2