Hella Rally Team second in 2003 ARC season opener.

March 31, 2003 - The Hella Rally Team has sent a strong message in regard to the team's intentions for the 2003 Australian Rally Championship by finishing second overall in Western Australia's Forest Rally over the weekend.

The Hella Rally Team husband and wife driving duo of Simon and Sue Evans (both aged 30) powered their privately entered Subaru WRX to the end of the season opener 7.9 seconds behind overall winner, Subaru factory team driver Cody Crocker.

The fight for outright Rally honours became a two team race between the works team and the Hella Rally Team throughout the later stages of the rally with both teams competing well ahead of their rivals throughout the major stages of this rally.

Making this result even more impressive was the fact that Simon Evans was the first car on track all day Sunday. This forced the Hella Rally Team to take the role of clearing the loose "ball bearing" gravel (notorious to W.A.) on each stage, a costly handicap in terms of setting competitive stage times.

This is where the Hella Rally Team's Yokohama tyres came to the fore, the cutting of wider grooves by team engineers ensuring that the Evans duo continued to set highly competitive times throughout the day despite the loose gravel. The gravel wasn't the only loose thing to cause problems for the Hella Rally Team, loose bonnet pins also cost the team 30 seconds on Sunday.

The Hella Rally Team's performance on the final day of the Forest Rally was remarkable, with Simon and Sue Evans racing from 25th overall at the start of the day to 4th by the conclusion - finishing one tenth of a second ahead of Mitsubishi Ralliart driver Ed Ordynski.

According to Evans, this was a fantastic start to the Hella Rally Team's 2003 season.

"The competition and pace set at this year's Forest Rally was extraordinary. We overcame some problems on both days to gain an excellent result. Finishing second overall and first Privateer while being nominated by Subaru for points from this round was a great way to get the new Championship started," Evans said.

"We knew coming into this rally that the Hella Rally Team Subaru was right for the job. We've worked hard in the off season to make sure that it would be reliable and it paid off. I knew that I could drive this car hard and it wasn't going to break," Evans added.

This opening round result bodes well for the Hella Rally Team's second Australian Rally Championship round to be held in Caloundra, Queensland from June 14-15.