CAMS Australian Rally Championship leader Eli Evans will be more focused than ever when he takes part in this weekend’s Kennards Hire Rally Australia.
After taking out three consecutive rounds this year, Evans currently holds a 57-point lead over round one and five winner, Harry Bates.
Although Evans is within touching distance of a fourth career Australian title, the Victorian is aware of the complexity of the ARC season finale in the Coffs Coast, with one bad mistake enough to ruin his good work thus far.
“Rally Australia is an endurance event and the rules are much more stricter than what we are used to ARC in terms of re-joining, so at this point, the championship is very much open,” Evans said.
“I have a nice lead, but if I have one bad day and don’t finish, I’ve really jeopardised it and I can be swallowed up by Harry, Steve (Glenney) and even Molly (Taylor).
“Simply speaking, I have to have my wits about me, I just have to get out there and not make any mistakes.
“If we don’t have any issues, then the championship should most likely be ours.”
While Bates is Evans’ closest title contender on paper, Steve Glenney is also a big threat for the final round. The Contel Communications driver has equipped himself with the Skoda Fabia R5, the same car as Evans himself.
With two-drivers now competing with the world-class European car, Evans believes that this weekend will test his own driving skills as his car no longer offers a benefit.
“Now that Steve Glenney is in the Skoda, I can’t use the car as an advantage anymore because there is a really fast driver in the same car as me,” Evans explained.
“In a way it’s good because I’ll get a bit of a gauge as to where I am at as a driver and Steve will also get the same opportunity to put himself up against me.
“The aim is to win our fourth round for the season but it’s getting harder and harder, especially with Steve now in the Skoda and Harry getting better and better throughout the year.”
With only three more days until the first stage takes place, Evans along with the other competitors, have recently touched down in New South Wales to finalise their preparations.
After recently completing some of their recce sessions, Evans is confident the recent changes to his Skoda will prove highly beneficial to his aspiring title hopes.
“We had a really positive test on Monday, made a few suspension changes which now suits my driving style, so I am feeling pretty good now,” Evans added.
“Following recce, it seems the Skoda is going to be really good fun out there, but I still think it’s going to be a close race all weekend.
“Ben (Searcy) and I will give it our best shot to try and win the event rather than just protect the championship, because we don’t want to finish second third or fourth.
“I want to win and that is what we are going to try and do.”
While Evans is in the box seat to take out the 2018 title, he believes there is still lots of pressure to win, especially from his brother Simon who was recently crowned 2018 DEWALT SXS Champion.
“My brother touched base with me yesterday, and he wished good luck and to relax and do what I do what I do best,” Evans joked.
“He revealed to me that if I don’t win, he will have the papers to force me to change my surname at Christmas time, so there is a little bit of pressure from him.”
The Kennards Hire Rally Australia takes place on the Coffs Coast in New South Wales on 15 – 18 November.