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Lotus Proves Light Is Right With Dutton Rally Stage Win

September 5th, 2007

Top 10 finish for Exige S in Victorian Dutton Rally.

A factory standard Lotus Exige S has earned a stage victory and finished 8th outright in the 2007 Dutton Rally Victoria.

In a field of 90, the light and lithe Lotus finished a solid eighth outright in the hotly contested driver's championship. The 163kW Exige S also took victory on stage six in front of the entire field of 140 drivers, and placed as high as fifth outright after day one.

Over three days and 29 stages of slaloms, drags, motorkhanas and circuit sprints around Shepparton and Melbourne, the Exige S was also the highest finishing standard production car, convincingly beating many fancied cars ranging from Evolution to Elfin.

In competition with the standard production rear-wheel drive Exige S were tarmac specification all-wheel drive rally cars, many with modifications specifically designed for competition such as lightened bodies, heavily tuned engines and hydraulic handbrakes that helped significantly in the event's many tight turns and slippery surfaces.

Driven by motoring journalist Dean Evans, the agile 935kg Exige S also took victory on stage six's slalom test, backing it up with 11 top-ten finishes. It lapped Winton Raceway in 1min:39.0sec and Sandown Raceway in 1min:26.4sec.

Finishing third outright in the Rookie category was a highlight for Lotus Cars Australia Sales and Marketing Manager Jonathan Stretton, entered as driver two. He said of the Exige S: "We drove it to the event, won a stage, scored some great results and even drove it to work the next day. It's a combination of hard-core performance with everyday practicality." Stretton even placed 10th from 140 on stage 23's motorkhana held in the SPC Foods employee's car park in Shepparton, Victoria.

Factory fitted with sticky Yokohama Advan A048 R-compound tyres, the Exige S is well equipped for competition with 0-100km/h in 4.3 seconds and a broad spread of torque from 3000-8500rpm from its supercharged, intercooled 1.8-litre four-cylinder.

An even more powerful Sport 240 version of the Exige S will debut at the Australian Motor Show, Darling Harbour, from October 11.

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