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Rally Championship to be decided at Melbourne finale

 

The countdown to the NGK Rally of Melbourne is on, and fittingly the championship is set to go down to the wire in Melbourne's Yarra Valley from September 22-24.

The countdown to the NGK Rally of Melbourne is on, and fittingly the championship is set to go down to the wire in Melbourne's Yarra Valley from September 22-24.

A highlight on the NEC Australian Rally Championship calendar, the NGK Rally of Melbourne is set to play host to a spectacular rally finale run on 16 Special Stages over two gruelling days.

Toyota's Simon Evans currently leads the championship by a mere 19 points from team mate Neil Bates, who in turn is holding off privateer Dean Herridge, just a further eight points adrift.

Evans cannot claim victory until the final round in Melbourne, which has a maximum of 61 points on offer, regardless of his result in South Australia.

"Melbourne is my hometown so this rally always means a lot to me and for the spectators it is fantastic, the roads in the Yarra Valley really give the fans a great experience of what rallying is all about," Simon Evans said.

"It is going to be a great finish to the championship and hopefully I will be able to take my first ever championship win in front of my home crowd.that would be a dream come true."

Fresh from his maiden round win in Tasmania last month, Dean Herridge has emerged as the most likely driver to spoil Toyota's goal for a one-two in the title chase.

Driving as a privateer this season, Herridge and co-driver Bill Hayes have lifted their performance this year despite the lack of funding which has limited their current testing to zero.

"Obviously it is harder when you run as a privateer but I feel that although we don't have the funding to test at the moment, I am driving better than I ever have, and as a combination, Bill and I are extremely happy with how we have gone so far this year," Dean Herridge said today.

"The championship is still our goal for this year and we'll be putting as much pressure on the Toyota guys as possible, and we'll be ready to pounce on any opportunity that comes up."

"There's very little in this championship so whoever remains consistently quick and minimises their mistakes in Melbourne will probably win the round and championship."

With the rally staged in Melbourne's picturesque Yarra Valley in the outer-east, spectators are encouraged to purchase their tickets early to ensure they don't miss out on all the action.

Andrew Laing


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