After a hard fought battle in trying conditions in the first endurance race at the final round of the Australian Manufacturers Championship at the Melbourne Sandown race circuit on Saturday 28th November 2009, the championship was decided. TMR ensured Mitsubishi’s hero car, the Lancer Evolution, secured a convincing 1st place in the Australian Manufacturers Championship with 670 points followed by Toyota with 459 points and Subaru with 338 points.
TMR’s Lancer Evolution RS driven by Rod Salmon gained pole position with newcomer Ian (Inky) Tulloch sharing the first row in 2nd place after qualifying only 3 tenths of a second behind Salmon. Inky Tulloch was debuting his TMR built, prepared and managed Lancer Evolution RS in this event. It was only Inky’s 2nd time in the car after a brief drive at the Bathurst Sprint just 2 weeks earlier. Rod Salmon and Damien White proved to be a formidable pair for the one hour endurance round, taking out first place in race 1 and therefore clinching the Australian Manufacturers Championship, with only one remaining race to decide if Rod Salmon would also take 1st place in the Australian Manufacturers Drivers Championship.
Race 2 saw Rod Salmon and Inky Tulloch take the front row for their class in the handicapped race, and even after a 72 second handicap, Rod Salmon and Damien White took 1st place outright with Inky close behind in 2nd outright. Even with the two wins for the weekend, Rod just missed out on the drivers Championship by 2 points, but he did win the John Bowe trophy with 338 points ahead of Lee Castle and Gary Holt with 326 and 275 points respectively. Rod Salmon also claimed 1st in his class (A1) for the Series with 368 points ahead of Lee Castle and Steve Glenney with 350 and 168 points respectively as well as claiming victory for the final round outright.
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution RS and TMR have proven to be an unbeatable team having taken 1st and 2nd place in the Bathurst 12hour for the last 2 years. TMR ran Rod Salmon, Damien White and Graham Alexander in 2008 in a TMR built Mitsubishi EVO IX winning the event outright alongside TMR’s second entry of Tony Quinn, Clarke Quinn and Grant Denyer who secured 2nd place in their TMR prepared EVO IX.
In 2009, TMR ran two of the new model Lancer Evolution RS, one for Rod Salmon, Damien White and Tony Longhurst alongside their second entry of Glyn Crimp, Stuart Kostera and Tony Ricciardello and again took out 1st and 2nd place respectively. TMR had done extensive development with the new model since its release but went into the event not knowing how it would perform in the taxing conditions that only Bathurst can deliver. The success of the two Bathurst 12hour victories and now the 2009 Manufacturers Championship displays the synergy between Mitsubishi’s Lancer Evolution RS and Alan Heaphy’s Dandenong based TMR team.