HARRY BATES WIN IN ADELAIDE RALLY BOOSTS ARC TITLE HOPES

Harry Bates Toyota Yaris AP4 wins 2018 Adelaide Hills RallyHarry Bates and John McCarthy are in with a chance to take out the Australian Rally Championship title following the pair’s victory in the Adelaide Hills Rally over the weekend.

After winning both of Friday night’s super special stages at The Bend Motorsport Park, Bates’ Toyota Genuine Parts Yaris AP4 proved faultless on Saturday, winning all bar one stage to take out Heat 1.

Going into Sunday’s Heat 2, Bates had to battle hard to consolidate his win with intense competition throughout the day from second-placed Steve Glenney and co-driver Andy Serandis while the combination of Eli Evans and co-driver Ben Searcy also applied plenty of pressure.

Evans was series leader going into the Adelaide rally and drove furiously to maintain his championship position but Bates was always there, winning a further four stages with an incredible dead heat with Evans on the 14.38km stage 13.

Bates finished Heat 2 in second place, just 18.6 seconds behind Evans after 115km of special stages, but his dominance of Heat 1 gave him a total of 75 points and the overall win for the round.

Harry Bates said he was really pleased to have a second win under his belt as the team now prepares for the final outing for the year at Rally Australia.

“We started the season well with a round win at Ballarat but have not been able to repeat that until now,” Bates said.

“The car really performed faultlessly over the weekend and we had good pace, so it was great to finish with a win and some solid championship points.

“It’s now all going to come down to the wire to see who takes out the season title after Rally Australia, so we are really looking forward to it and there should be some great racing.”

The Neal Bates Motorsport team’s second car, driven by Lewis Bates and co-driver Dale Moscatt, was also looking at a top five finish after ending Heat 1 in fourth spot but engine issues with the Corolla S2000 on Sunday saw the team finish the round in seventh place.

Going into the Adelaide rally, Evans led the driver’s championship on 290 points ahead of Glenny on 239 with Bates in third on 206 but a post-Adelaide rally penalty on Evans saw his Heat 1 result excluded with a further 20 championship point penalty.

Glenney finished in eighth place in the Adelaide rally after rolling his car on the Sunday ensuring Bates’ points for the weekend lifted him into second place overall and just 29 points behind Evans (pending appeal) going into the final round.

Bates and McCarthy are now looking forward to Rally Australia with all the ARC and WRC action hitting Coffs Harbour from November 15 to 18.

HARRY BATES CLAWS BACK TIME IN 2018 NATIONAL CAPITAL RALLY

Bates and the Toyota Yaris AP4 win 6 of 15 stages

Third in championship at season mid-point

A hard-charging Harry Bates aggressively clawed back time in yesterday’s second heat of the National Capital Rally after casting aside mechanical issues that dogged him late on Saturday.

Bates and co-driver John McCarthy rejoined the battle in decisive fashion yesterday, winning three of the final six stages in their Toyota Genuine Parts Yaris AP4.

They finished their home rally in fourth position and, at the half-way point of the Australian Rally Championship season, are just 34 points off the series leader in third place.

On Saturday, the Toyota pair pushed hard and won three of the first seven stages, leaving them handily positioned in second, just 17.8 seconds behind the leader.

But a blown turbo cost them substantial time on the final two stages of the day, which saw them slip to sixth before the turbo could be replaced.

Earlier, Harry’s brother Lewis and four-time ARC champion Coral Taylor retired due to engine damage from a broke oil line on their Toyota Corolla S2000 after an awkward landing over a jump.Harry Bates said he remains optimistic about victory in this year’s championship despite disappointment at missing out on back-to-back wins in Canberra.

“We clearly have the pace to challenge for this year’s championship against quality competition – and hopefully we have put our tough luck behind us,” he said.

“It’s amazing that Neal Bates Motorsport, a small Canberra-based team, has put together such a quick car that is taking it up to the international R5 rally cars.”

The Yaris AP4 recorded its first victory in the opening round of the 2018 season in Victoria and took Bates to a spirited second-place fightback during the second round in Western Australia.

The rally championship continues in Tasmania late next month with the fourth of season’s six rounds.

DOUBLE GOLD FOR TOYOTA IN BALLARAT RALLY

Maiden victory for Toyota Genuine Parts Yaris AP4 – Harry Bates wins first round of Australian Rally Championship, with brother Lewis fourth in Corolla

Toyota Genuine Parts driver Harry Bates has won the opening round of the 2018 Australian Rally Championship, giving his new Yaris AP4 car its maiden victory.

Bates and co-driver John McCarthy won both heats of the two-day Eureka Rally in the Ballarat region, claiming 11 of the 15 completed special stages and taking a maximum possible 81 championship points.

It was 22-years-old Bates’ second consecutive Eureka Rally victory, after last year becoming the youngest driver to win an ARC round.

Younger brother Lewis Bates and co-driver Dale Moscatt added to the celebrations in the Neal Bates Motorsport team, finishing fourth overall in the Corolla S2000 formerly driven by father Neal Bates and then Harry.

“What a weekend, we’re over the moon! The team has worked so hard to build the Yaris; it was great to repay them with a win,” Harry Bates said.

“Day one was really tight competition at the front of the field and frankly hard work to win by 2.7 seconds. It was hot and dry, with lots of tyre wear.

“Day two we gained the lead early and could build from there.

“Compared with last year, we were one second per kilometre quicker, which is a big gain. It shows how much better the Yaris AP4 is and how much more competitive the ARC has become.

“The aim when the Yaris concept was hatched at our base in Canberra was to create a more powerful and agile car. Now we can take our learnings from here and do more development for round two in Western Australia.”

Lewis Bates said he had well and truly achieved his goal of completing the full event and setting competitive stage times.

“It was only my second rally in a 4WD and I am learning stage by stage, so fourth outright for the weekend was a bonus,” he said.

“Saturday was especially good, the stages suited me. Sunday was more technical, but that will come with experience.

“The car was faultless; I was so happy with it. Dad was delighted to have both cars finish with strong results.”

The next ARC round is the Forest Rally in Western Australia on April 27-29.

Harry and Lewis Bates fly the local Toyota flag in 2017 WRC Rally Australia

Toyota’s local rally ‘family’, was in action in Rally Australia. Toyota Genuine Parts entry Harry Bates drove a new 4WD Yaris built by his father Neal’s organisation, Neal Bates Motorsport. Younger brother Lewis competed in Neal’s 2008 title-winning Corolla S2000.

Harry Bates began the rally with impressive pace, posting the fastest time of any Australian driver in the first stage, but his rally was sidelined by technical issues.

“Our new Yaris rally car is clearly quick and nimble with great brakes and impressive suspension travel,” he said. “An extensive test program over the summer will ensure the car lives up to its full potential next season.”

Lewis Bates, competing for the first time in a 4WD car, rounded out the event with 13th fastest time against all WRC entries (and second-fastest Australian) in Stage 19 and the 15th overall in the Power stage.

“The whole weekend was about gaining experience through the 320km of competitive driving,” Lewis Bates said.

“I built up confidence on the Friday, lost some time on Saturday replacing a punctured tyre mid-stage and came through very tricky conditions on Sunday morning with the rain storm.

“It was still muddy and slippery when the sun came out, but I am very happy with the stage times we did at the end.”