For the second year in a row the Evans Motorsport run Mini Cooper AP4 has not travelled to Western Australia with the team for the Make Smoking History Forest Rally.
The Evans Motorsport team of Eli Evans and Ben Searcy will now join Adrian Coppin/Erin Kelly in steering a Race Torque Engineering Skoda Fabia R5 when the Forest Rally, round two of the CAMS Australian Rally Championship, kicks off in Busselton on Friday night, 27 April.
“Preparation after our third place at Eureka Rally has been extensive. Athough third place is a nice net of points, it’s not where myself and the team want to finish in the MINI Cooper AP4,” Evans said.
“We built the MINI to win so the car has been revised in a number of areas which looks really promising moving forward, but unfortunately we have fallen short on timeframe and the decision was made not to take the MINI Cooper AP4 across to the west for the Forest Rally,” he continued.
“It’s definitely disappointing not to be driving the Mini Cooper AP4 over here, however, I’m also excited about the opportunity to compete in a world class FIA rally car,” Evans said.
“My aim is to win the championship this year and by being here at the Forest Rally we remain in the race,” he added.
When announcing the Coppin deal earlier this year Lane Heenan of Race Torque Engineering said they were “look[ing] forward to introducing another brand with a strong rally heritage to the ARC,” and now spectators and rally fans will have double the opportunity to see it in action this weekend.
Evans will get his first look at the Skoda tomorrow morning when the top teams head to Nannup for a pre-event test session.
“I’ve got a lot of research to do tonight, there is a 70-page handbook I’ll be trying to digest before I get behind the wheel tomorrow morning,” Evans said.
More than 50 crews from across Western Australia and the nation will contest the Make Smoking History Forest Rally. The event, which is held in Busselton and Nannup in the state’s South West, is the second round of both the CAMS Australian Rally Championship® and the CAMS Onslow Contracting WA Rally Championship.