Simon Evans?two-time Australian rally champ steerer for Toyota?has locked up the TRD Aurion's first victory, and right there in the car's first ever racing appearance anywhere in the world; the George Town Prologue on the opening day of the Targa Tasmania tarmac rally.
Along with his co-driver and wife Sue, Evans and the TRD Aurion took the top step in the Showroom 2WD category of the race, wrapping up a solid lap of the 4.8km stage, which wends its way in and around George Town on the northern Tasmanian coast.
"To win our class on the TRD Aurion's very first outing is a great achievement," Evans said. "I kept repeating the tarmac racing principles in my head - brake early and keep it clean, and it clearly paid off."
"For what is basically a standard road-going TRD Aurion it performed well. The car has a really good chassis, it turns well and the brakes are great. But it has a lot more potential on the open roads so we'll see how we go for the rest of the week."
Evans and his wife Sue weren't alone in their victory however, with fellow TRD drivers Neal Bates and Coral Taylor slotting their race-spec TRD Aurion into second position in a different class?the Modern Competition category. Bates has himself previously been a Targa Tasmania winner, and agrees that the car will demonstrate itself best as the course progresses to the open roads.
"I expect the car to perform a lot better once the roads open up in the coming days and the TRD Aurion can stretch its legs. We can't read too much into such a short section of road but we are well-placed heading into tomorrow's first real hit out."
Having not driven the car myself, I'm limited in how much of an opinion I can have; but I do wonder if the anticipation of the open roads has anything to do with the common high-powered FWD concern of understeer. It's true however that many performance-oriented FWDs these days have managed to drastically reduce the effects of understeer, and obviously Evans and Bates accomplishments so far this week have demonstrated the TRD Aurion to be a more than capable bit of kit.