Forest rally will sort them out

IT’S time to end the gamesmanship, time to end the skiting about who’s fastest, or who’s best and get down to business.

Big time motor sport is back in Coffs Harbour this Saturday and Sunday with the Daikin-Allied Air Conditioning Coffs Coast Rally roaring away at 8am.

TRD Racing’s Neal Bates will start warm favourite for the event after clocking the fastest time over the demonstration stage of yesterday’s forest Shakedown.

"That was a fantastic stage and really suited our car," Bates said, as he set off in search of a fourth ARC title.

The ARC leader only needs to finish in 15th position to capture the 2008 championship, won last year by Toyota stablemate, Simon Evans.

The Evans brothers finished with equal second-fastest time but the real surprise packet was British Rally champion, Guy Wilks, who was third-fastest in his Honda.

Wilks was expected to use the trip downunder as a stepping stone to the future but his aggressive attack on the course was the talk of the crowd of invited guests and media.

Local hope Nathan Quinn had a minor scare when his Mitsubishi went into a slide but later gave a not-so-subtle hint he’s ready to take his place on a larger scale with a sensational time in the Shakedown.

All he needs now is luck, as the confidence and the urge to resist are already there.

"From now, it’s all about attitude," Quinn said.

"I have to approach this like the forest is mine and they have come to take it off me."

The last official function prior to the big adventure took place in the City Centre yesterday afternoon when a Ceremonial Start to the rally was held.

Crews face 111km of forestry roads after the organising team made minor course amendments to re-route the rally cars around a road that has become unusable.

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