Harry Bates aims for WRC shot at 2017 Rally Australia

Yaris AP4 rallycarAfter a difficult new car debut at Rally South Australia last month ruined his Australian Rally Championship, Harry Bates has decided to step up to compete in the WRC2 cars at Rally Australia.

The Toyota Yaris AP4 built by Neal Bates Motorsport for this year’s ARC will switch to run Michelin tyres for the WRC weekend.

The debut of the new Toyota Yaris AP4 didn’t go to plan for the Neal Bates Motorsport team, with an engine problem stemming from an issue with the turbocharger wastegate meaning they only completed one stage in South Australia.

“As a team, we’ve made the decision to withdraw from the ARC title race, and we are putting all of our efforts in to nabbing a strong result in the WRC at Rally Australia next month,” Harry Bates said.

“Not an easy decision, but this gives us the opportunity to compete using the same tyre as the international teams, and I can’t wait to see what the Toyota Yaris AP4 can do on the awesome roads around Coffs Harbour.”

With the ARC title chance all but gone, Bates is looking to the future and a possible drive overseas in coming years.

“Ever since the end of 2016, when we came painfully close to winning the Australian Rally Championship, we have worked harder than ever before to put ourselves in a position to achieve what we couldn’t last year,” he said.

“I think we have put together a bunch of solid performances this season, performances we are very proud of. Unfortunately, despite our speed and consistency, the numbers are against us to make the dream win happen this season due to some technical issues, particularly at the most recent round.”

As part of the development and test program, the team intends to take the Yaris to Imbil in Queensland to run in a rallysprint prior to Rally Australia. The roads and weather there are similar to those in Rally Australia at Coffs Harbour.

Harry’s brother Lewis is also making a step up for the event, moving from a front wheel drive Corolla to the S2000 Corolla that Harry had been running up until the South Australia round.