Forest Rally Countdown Begins

Australian Rally Championship http://www.rally.com.au ----------------------------------------------------------- The start of the 1999 Respect Yourself Forest Rally is just four days away, and with the clock ticking down to the 8.00pm start in...

Australian Rally Championship http://www.rally.com.au -----------------------------------------------------------

The start of the 1999 Respect Yourself Forest Rally is just four days away, and with the clock ticking down to the 8.00pm start in Forrest Place on Friday 25 June competitors and officials are busy finalising preparations for the third round of the Australian Rally Championship.

73 cars and crews will take to the forests of Mundaring on June 26 and 27 to cover some 190 high-speed kilometres over twisting dirt roads, but for many a much longer drive has already begun. Eighteen interstate teams are headed across the Nullarbor for the event, with current Australian Rally Champion, Possum Bourne, and four-time Forest Rally winner, Neal Bates, ranking high amongst their number.

Veterans of several Forest Rally duels, Bates and Bourne are running neck and neck in the Australian Rally Championship points race and both will be seeking to assert their supremacy in an event that could very well prove to be the turning point in the Championship chase.

Weather and tyre-choice could well be the crucial factors. Heavy rain caused a washout in Coffs Harbour leaving the opening round of the Championship largely indecisive, while Bates and Bourne both scored heat wins in a wet Falken Tyres Rally of Queensland. The Respect Yourself Forest Rally is traditionally a 'dry' rally, but this year's event is being run later in the year after the first of WA's winter rain.

"Running after the first rains should be an advantage to us," said West Australian Car Club president and event organiser, Ross Tapper. "The dust has washed away and the roads have had time to bed-in, so the surface should be smooth and traction should be at its best … unless we get a downpour on the day conditions should be near perfect for Championship rallying. Either way, we're in for a very exciting, extremely close-fought event."

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Series Other rally
Drivers Neal Bates