Bates rally dynasty continues in the west
MEDIA RELEASE: Emerging rally ace Harry Bates and co-driver John McCarthy are revved up and ready to go for the first round of the 2016 Australian Rally Championship (ARC).
The Forest Rally, run over the unique ‘ball bearing’ gravel surfaces surrounding Busselton, south of Perth in Western Australia, will be a stiff challenge for the well-credentialed 20-year-old.
With the 2015 Confederation of Australian Motorsport (CAMS) Future Star Award already on the shelf, Bates will be steering the Toyota Genuine Parts Corolla S2000 his famous father, four-time ARC champion Neal, used to win the WA event and overall title in 2008.
“Dad’s also in the line-up this weekend with the Toyota RA40 Celica he and Coral (Taylor) have campaigned so successfully in recent years. It’s great to have his experience and support behind me, but I still want to knock him off,” Harry said.
Having grabbed a podium on his ARC debut at the National Capital Rally in Canberra last year, and another before the season was out, Bates is competing at all five rounds of this year’s championship, backed by Toyota Genuine Parts.
With experienced co-driver John McCarthy beside him Bates will be up against a long list of seasoned competitors, but is confident of a strong showing.
“Four-wheel drive (4WD) is allowed in the ARC this year, and we’re still developing the Corolla’s set-up, plus it’s my first time rallying in the west and the slippery surfaces around Nannup and Busselton will take some getting used to,” Harry said.
“But the S2000’s 4WD system gets the power down brilliantly. It’s a sensational machine, and I’m looking forward to the challenge,” he said.
Powered by a 2.0-litre, naturally aspirated (3SGE) four-cylinder engine, the lightweight Toyota Corolla S2000 pumps around 190kW/325Nm to all four wheel via a six-speed sequential gearbox.
Australian Rally Championship 2016
Forest Rally, WA – April 22-24
National Capital Rally, ACT – May 27-29
International Rally of Queensland – June 17-19
Rally SA – September 9-11
Rally Australia, NSW – November 17-20