August 14, 2003 - The Hella Australia sponsored Australian Rally Championship (ARC) team of Simon and Sue Evans raced through South Australia's fastest unsealed roads last weekend on their way to another top five ARC result in their privately ...
August 14, 2003 - The Hella Australia sponsored Australian Rally Championship (ARC) team of Simon and Sue Evans raced through South Australia's fastest unsealed roads last weekend on their way to another top five ARC result in their privately entered Subaru WRX.
Starting the event as the number one seed following the team's outstanding stage victories during the first half of the season, 31 year old Simon Evans got off to a strong start, holding a two second gap behind early rally leader, Mitsubishi factory team driver and local hero Ed Ordynski until stage six when the Hella Motorsport driver raced through a ditch sideways - the heavy impact shattering a wheel disc.
The damage wasn't confined to the disc with the brake caliper also destroyed. To make matters worse, while limping to the end of the stage, the locked front wheel caused the front driveshaft to break.
This forced the Evans duo into "side of road" repair mode, clearing the front wheel of the damaged components in order to continue in rear wheel drive for the remaining two stages until reaching the next service stop. The Hella team's late arrival due to these repairs cost the team 40 seconds in penalties. Despite this handicap, the team still finished the first day of the rally within the top ten at 7th overall.
The second day of South Australian forest racing action saw the Hella Motorsport team fight for the lead of the rally with Ordynski. Evans was pushing harder than ever during the battle, but a major 130kph spin towards the trees at the Haniford Hump cost the team 10 seconds in their pursuit of the Mitubishi Lancer driver. Evans wasn't the only driver to come unstuck at this section of road, with Subaru factory driver Cody Crocker also spinning and hitting an embankment there.
The challenge was set from this point to get in front of 3rd placed Dean Herridge, so it was a flat out high risk pace that saw Evans hit an end of stage gate post at Ridgetops, damaging the Hella Subaru's rear suspension. This promoted Herridge and left a 20 second buffer to Crocker with three stages remaining in the rally. Despite Evans' significant suspension damage, the husband and wife driving team maintained the gap to the factory driver all the way to the end of the rally, finishing 3rd outright for Day two, giving the team 4th overall for the round.
Local driver Ordynski won the round with Herridge second and Crocker third.
According to Simon Evans, it was a high pressure rally from the start until the very end. "This was a very challenging and fast rally that particularly suited the Lancers, but we competed hard to keep up with the leaders - taking lots of risks, some of which obviously didn't pay off. We gained good Championship points here and retain third place overall in the title fight, so its a strong position to be in heading to our home event, the Rally of Melbourne in October. "