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.


Spirited recovery in WA rally – new Yaris rally car shows consistent gains

Toyota Genuine Parts driver Harry Bates staged a bold fight back to gain valuable Australian Rally Championship points in the WA Forest Rally over the weekend.

Bates, driving his locally developed Yaris AP4 car, recovered from an off-road incident during Heat 1 to finish second in Heat 2.

Bates and co-driver John McCarthy are third on the title standings going into their home event, the National Capital Rally on June 1-3 – a rally they won last year.

Bates praised his crew, led by his father and four-time Australian champion Neal Bates, for keeping him in the event.

“They repaired the cosmetic damage, fitted some new Toyota Genuine panels, gave the car a wheel alignment and we were running again,” he said.

“We won the first stage back in, which was the night tarmac special stage through the streets of Busselton – always an exciting stage, with a great atmosphere.

“That gave us three wins from the stages in the town. Then, with further improvements to the car and driving on roads swept of some of the slippery gravel by the first day’s action, we posted very competitive stage times.

“The Yaris is getting better with every event and we gathered more data this weekend to make improvements and set-up changes. We can now look forward to competing on home turf around Canberra in a month’s time.”

Younger brother Lewis Bates, driving a Corolla S2000, finished equal sixth in his first rally on the ‘ball-bearing’ gravel of the narrow WA forestry roads.


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.”