Neal Bates Motorsport were thrilled with the performance of their Australian-built Toyota Yaris AP4 at the National Capital Rally, despite a turbo failure on day one.
The event had been built up as a battle between the Aussie AP4 and the Japanese Toyota Vitz AP4 built and run by Cusco Racing.
The Vitz is the Japanese name for the Yaris, so comparisons between drivers Harry Bates and Mike Young were always going to be made.
Perhaps not surprisingly, it was the Bates car that proved far and away quicker than the Cusco machine.
"To be honest, we hoped and expected that to be the case," Neal Bates told RallySport Magazine this week.
"Aside from the turbo issue - which we'd never had before - the car ran really well, despite the incredibly rough conditions over the weekend.
Mike Young's Japanese built Toyota Vitz AP4 trailed Harry Bates' Aussie Yaris. Photo: Matt Whitten
Before Harry Bates' turbo issues on stage seven of the event, he was over three minutes in front Young.
"Our car is getting quite close to the R5 Skoda in terms of speed, so we're very happy with it's progress," Neal Bates added.
"The goal with the car has always been to make it as fast as an R5 car, and we're getting close to that."
After winning the opening round of the Australian Rally Championship, Harry Bates has dropped to third in the title race, 34 points behind leader Eli Evans, and nine points behind Steve Glenney.
Harry Bates is hoping for a change of luck in Tasmania. Photo: Dave King
“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,” Harry Bates 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 next round of the ARC is Subaru Rally Tasmania, from July 27 to 29 in Launceston.
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