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Ralliart Italia Oz13aThe 2013 Coates Hire Rally Australia started well for Venezuelan Ralliart Italy drivers Alejandro Lombardo and Carlos Fessman in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X cars.

The twice-run Super Special Stage (Coffs 1 / 2), located in the heart of Coffs Harbour city, was a short 1.60 kilometre mixed gravel and bitumen stage. The test isn’t long, but it certainly demands respect from those who take it on.

Heading into the stage, Lombardo was keen to get back into the driver’s seat: “I’m very happy with my Mitsubishi here and looking forward to competing in my first WRC event overseas. My WRC debut was Rally México earlier this year. Now I have a different car, a new co-driver and unique roads to tackle!” said Lombardo.

Fessman arrived in Coffs Harbour ready to tackle his fourth consecutive WRC event and hoping to match his performance in Germany: “Rally Australia will be very hard, but I’ll do my best. I’m pleased to be here with my Mitsubishi after my WRC 2 Production Cup podium at Rallye Deutschland and managing to take home two WRC 2 points there. I have a new set-up for this event, which should suit me better. Ideally, I’d like to get some points in the Production Cup – and hopefully WRC 2! – again here.”

Exceeding his expectations, Fessman had a great start, showing a strong pace around the dusty, slippery circuit. He finished the day leading the WRC 2 Production Cup at the overnight halt and was pleased to represent Venezuela in the third different continent this year: “I had fun on the track and I tried to make a good show for the people of Australia!” he explained.

Following the two runs of the Coffs Super Special Stage, Fessman’s team mate Lombardo is third in the WRC 2 Production Cup. He approached this evening’s short test with a sensible strategy, focused on using the stage to practise his skills in his new Mitsubishi.

Ralliart Italy Team Manager Bruno De Pianto was pleased that his two Rally Team Venezuela drivers competing in the WRC 2 Production Cup had started the rally unperturbed and in a good frame of mind to take on tomorrow’s 91.34 kilometres of competitive stages: “Carlos put in a good performance this evening. I can see his confidence improving all the time. It was always the target for him increase his pace gradually as his familiarity in his Mitsubishi increased. It’s thanks to Venezuela and its Ministry of Sport that he’s been able to do that. Alejandro is new to the project this event, but he has a sensible strategy and he’ll learn quickly as soon as he gets out on tomorrow’s tricky stages!”

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