Reigning AMA/World Supercross champion Chad Reed took to the dirt on four-wheels today (Thursday) in his first official rally car drive with Toyota, at Queensland Raceway in Australia.

The 26-year-old climbed aboard the 2008 Australian Rally Championship-winning machine of Neal Bates and Coral Taylor - the TRD Corolla Super 2000 - completing a competitive day of testing and clocking up over 100km.

After a short briefing session and some words of advice from Bates, Reed suited up and was belted in to the 190kw, four-wheel drive four-cylinder, putting it through its paces with experienced navigator Taylor at his side.

Reed's competitive instincts and extensive experience on dirt helped him overcome what would normally have been a steep learning curve, and within a few laps he was working on refining his entry into corners and smoothly applying the power into the straight sections.

He completed over 28 laps of the 3.5km circuit this morning and was pleased with his progress.

"I had a blast out there this morning," said Reed. "As the day went on, I got more comfortable behind the wheel and the drying track helped me to find my feet.

"It would have been different if the track was lined with trees, but this test area provided me with a good opportunity to explore the limits and I haven't crashed yet.

"I was able to use what I've learnt through riding dirt bikes and apply it to driving the TRD Corolla; there are obvious differences but the racer within took over and helped me to adjust."

Reed, who has previously been linked to a four-wheel switch in the V8 Supercar championship, revealed that he found the rally car more exciting and looks set to make further outings.

"I'd like to thank Toyota for making this possible and look forward to a fantastic relationship well into the future," said Chad.

"There's only so much the body can take on two wheels - four wheels would be a natural progression for me," he confirmed. "I've driven a V8 Supercar and can honestly say that I found today's rally test much more of a thrill."

Toyota Motorsport manager Todd Connolly said Reed's first foray onto dirt had been an impressive one.

"It was a fairly seamless transition from two wheels to four, Chad seemed right at home in TRD Corolla Super 2000 and was making vast improvements lap after lap," said Connolly. "He has an aptitude for rallying and eagerly took on board the feedback offered by Neal and Coral, which shows his commitment.

"We look forward to further opportunities with Chad in the future, and also wish him well this weekend at the final Supercross event for the season which he looks set to wrap up."

A veteran of the Australian Rally Championship scene and a one of its most successful and respected identities, Bates said Reed showed much potential in his first drive of the Corolla.

"I was especially impressed how mechanically sympathetic and gentle Chad was with the TRD Corolla, he didn't overdrive it and actively took on feedback to make noticeable gains," said Bates. "Considering the car is around 10 times the weight of his race bike he has done a really solid job and will only get better each and every time he hops aboard the car."

Reed's focus will now turn to the final round of the Super X championship at Brisbane's QSAC where he holds a comfortable points advantage over the closest challenger.

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