Mike Stevens | Nov 10, 2008

Team TRD Rally has just about nailed victory in the 2008 Australian Rally Championship, with duo Neal Bates and Simon Evans having won every event this season in their S2000 Corollas, and now with only each other in the way of the championship title.

WIth the season-ending Coffs Coast Rally on the 15-16 of November, Bates and Evans are the only drivers in the series mathematically capable of winning the title. Although with a 113 point lead over his teammate, TRD boss Bates needs only a 15th place in Heat 1 to claim his fourth ARC title.

Bates secured his lead after victories in the first three rounds of the season, and is set to become just the third driver in the ARC’s 41-year history to win four or more championships.

"The team have been coming to Coffs for years to rally and we all really enjoy coming back whenever we get the chance," Bates said.

"I have always enjoyed the rally roads in Coffs and the team enjoys the fact that the whole community really support the event. Everyone goes out of their way to make us feel welcome.

"Coffs has some of the best rally roads you could ever drive on and it is also a beautiful place to go, so it is the ideal location to round out the season.

"I am trying not to think too much about the championship, but I would dearly love to win it again. I just have to concentrate on getting through the first heat in a good position and to win a fourth title 15 years after the first one would be a real achievement."

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Evans got off to a tough start in the 2008 ARC championship after his record-breaking 2007 effort, but after pulling more solid results in the second half of the year, he has managed to stay in contention for his third championship title.

"It has been a tough year, but to still be in the title chase coming into the final event is not too bad," Evans said.

"Neal has driven consistently all year and although we have had our fair share of bad luck, the main thing is only a TRD driver can walk away with the title.

"Anything can happen in rallying and I will be pushing all the way on Coffs' magical rally roads, but it will take a lot to win the title given Neal's strong position."

Team TRD Rally will also run Evans’ Corolla from his previous two ARC titles, piloted through the event by motoring journalist and experienced rally driver Paul Gover.

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