November 17, 2003 - Hella Australia sponsored Australian Rally Championship driving duo Simon and Sue Evans have missed out on the 2003 ARC Privateers Cup title by just two points after a weekend in Tasmania that was frought with mechanical problems.
The Safari Rally held on the weekend was the sixth and final round of the 2003 Australian Rally Championship, held on some of the state's most challenging gravel roads. The battle for the Privateers Cup was always going to be a tough one, with Mitsubishi driver Juha Kangas performing brilliantly throughout the event.
The problems started for Simon Evans on the Friday shakedown, when his Subaru WRX engine overheated, forcing the team to discover and repair the cause of the problem, which was a blown fuse on the engine's thermo fans. After a quick systems test, the car seemed fine for the first day of the competitive rally stages.
On Saturday and just 18 kilometres into the first 22 kilometre stage, Evans noticed a major drop in power, the engine running on three cylinders with a blown head gasket the cause, no doubt a flow on effect from the overheating experienced the day before. This forced Evans to park his Subaru and register a costly DNF for the first day's competition.
After working through the night to rebuild the engine, Evans had a strong run on Sunday, reporting a brilliant car throughout. No matter what he did behind the wheel though, Evans was struggling to match the pace being set by Kangas throughout each stage. Any hopes of winning the Privateers Cup were finally dashed when a puncture on the final forest stage placed the Evans duo completely out of contention, limping to the finish. Despite this setback, Evans was 5th on the day and with the major problems encountered throughout the round, Evans still managed to finish 9th overall in the Safari Rally and 4th overall in the 2003 Australian Rally Championship.
Most pleasing to the husband and wife Rally driving combination is their close runner-up finish in the Privateers Cup, the culmination of their most successful season so far.
According to Simon Evans, "This was a very disappointing end to the Championship for us, particularly after leading the Privateers Cup throughout the season. We did the best we could under the circumstances, but the best man won on the day and I congratulate Juha Kangas and his team on a top performance. We have come a long way this season and I couldn't be happier with my driving, there was precious little in the way of errors between Sue and I this season and this was very satisfying. We will now concentrate our efforts towards next season and making it our best yet." <pre> OUTRIGHT RESULTS - 2003 SAFARI RALLY, TASMANIA 1. J.Kangas/J.Rabbett Mitsubishi 55.5 2. D.Herridge/G.Macneall Subaru 39* 3. C.Crocker/G.Foletta Subaru 39 4. E.Ordynski/I.Stewart Mitsubishi 27 5. S.Lowndes/C.Randell Mitsubishi 24 6. S.Pedder/C.Randell Mitsubishi 21 =7. N.Bates/C.Taylor Toyota 18 =7. B.Goldsborough/D.Moscatt Subaru 18 9. S.Evans/S.Evans Subaru 15 10. M.Thompson/M.Gentleman Subaru 9
2003 AUSTRALIAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL STANDINGS 1. C.Crocker/G.Foletta Subaru 199 2. E.Ordynski/I.Stewart Mitsubishi 168 3. J.Kangas/J.Rabbett Mitsubishi 148.5 4. S.Evans/S.Evans Subaru 142 5. D.Herridge/G.Macneall Subaru 127 6. S.Pedder/P.Humm Mitsubishi 99 7. S.Lowndes/C.Randell Mitsubishi 90 8. N.Bates/C.Taylor Toyota 70 9. M.Thompson/R.Thompson Mitsubishi 44 10. B.Goldsborough/D.Moscatt Subaru 30
Australian Rally Championship Privateers Cup 1. J.Kangas/J.Rabbett Mitsubishi 196 2. S.Evans/.Evans Subaru 194 3. B.Goldsborough/D.Moscatt Toyota 131