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Drivers gear up for Forest Rally action

Chloe FraserBusselton Dunsborough Times

More than 50 crews from across Australia will contest the Make Smoking History Forest Rally through the forests of Nannup and Busselton next month for the second round of the CAMS Australian Rally Championships.

This year multiple team changes and new cars will bring a renewed energy to the rally, which runs from April 27-29.

Former Australian Rally champions Eli Evans and Molly Taylor will head the field in a competitive climb to the top of the Forest Rally podium.

Three-time ARC winner Evans is hoping to take the ARC championship lead from driver Harry Bates, who won the opening ARC round at the Courier Eureka Rally in Ballarat on March 3 and 4.

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Bates and co-driver John McCarthy gave their new Toyota Yaris AP4 its maiden CAMS Australian Rally Championship win, claiming 11 of 15 stages and finishing the second heat just 28 seconds ahead of driver Steve Glenney, who returned to the tracks after a 10-year absence.

Joined by new co-driver Ben Searcy, Evans said this year’s competition was looking tough. “We finished third outright at the Eureka Rally which wasn’t the best outcome for us — we want to be on the top step,” he said.

“Hopefully we can improve and bridge the gap between Harry and Steve, who came first and second.

“Ben has been around rallies for years.

“He’s professional and wants to win so I think we are well suited to each other.” But Evans said the team still had work to do.

“The roads (in Busselton) are quite enjoyable to drive on because they are nice and smooth and not too tough on the car,” Evans said.

“I’m not up to full speed with my driving so there’s a few things I need to focus on there, but hopefully we can challenge for the win.”

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