Lancer Evo IX Wins Showroom Class
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Peter Brown and Nicole Locker driving the Mitsubishi Lancer
Evolution IX to showroom car class success in Targa Tasmania
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2nd May, 2006
A Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX has won the showroom car class at Australia's premier tarmac rally, Targa Tasmania.
The Evo IX, driven by Peter Brown and Nicole Locker from Bateau Bay on the Central Coast of New South Wales, also finished 15th outright in a field of almost 250 cars.
The couple bought the all-wheel-drive, turbocharged 2-litre Evo IX from Mitsubishi Ralliart at Dandenong in Melbourne for about $40,000 and spent another $25,000 on having it fitted for competition, including a roll cage.
"But it was still an unmodified car up against lots of very highly modified machines," Brown said.
"We had standard brakes, wheels, exhaust, etc."
"We're pretty chuffed to have won the showroom class in such a prestigious event and finished 15th outright in a field that had had a host of Porsches and Lamborghinis, some of which would have cost their owners $500,000."
Brown said the Heaphy-led Ralliart had been "immensely helpful" to them since they bought the Evo IX, particularly during the rally.
Heaphy was delighted to see a Ralliart customer do so well for modest cost in what has become an internationally-renowned event over the past 15 years.
Heaphy said it was "really important that people who want to do motor sport can do it in an affordable way and have enjoyment and success, as Peter and Nic have".
A similar Evo IX was driven in the rally by former grand prix motorcycle, Daryl Beattie, who set some impressive stage times with his co-driver Scott Young, but crashed down an embankment.
Malcolm Klopp and Damian Pearce of South Australia finished the 2,100 km rally, which had 45 competitive stages comprising 450 km, in a GSR-model Evo IX bought from an Adelaide dealer, but Dean Evans and Justin Doney from NSW crashed the fourth customer Evo IX in the event.
Team Mitsubishi Ralliart's own Evo IX, built to the new tarmac rally regulations and driven by Warwick Rooklyn and Linda Long, ran among the top three cars for much of the rally but finished sixth after a mandatory four-minute penalty when two tyres had to be changed before the final leg.
While Peter Brown runs the Budget car rental franchise on the Central Coast and in western Sydney and is a keen rally driver, he is also a passionate motorcycle racer.
In 2000 and 2002 he won BEARS championships for Australian riders of British, European and American bikes.
"I love racing motorbikes, but the great thing about a car rally like Targa Tasmania is that Nic and I can do it together," Brown said.
"She calls directions to me from very detailed pace notes, which help my driving immeasurably."
The couple also did well in the now-defunct East Coast Targa, finishing fourth in 2004, but Tasmania has become a rallying "home" for them, as they compete in two other events a year there.
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