Canberra brothers’ Harry and Lewis Bates have reflected on an historic 1-2 in the 2019 Australian Rally Championship (ARC), driving a pair of Toyota Yaris AP4s.
For Harry Bates, it’s been a dominant season, with he and co-driver John McCarthy taking every available point on the way to becoming champions for the first time.
Their first event win of the season came in Western Australia, before taking out round two, the Netier National Capital Rally in Canberra in May, and going on to record three more wins, including the Adelaide Hills Rally, where Bates and McCarthy clinched the coveted title, 26 years after Harry’s father, Neal, claimed his first of four titles.
Younger brother, Lewis, endured a tougher season, his first in the Toyota Yaris AP4.
He and co-driver Anthony McLoughlin started well, taking second place at round one. A retirement at his home rally in Canberra followed, seriously denting his hopes of a placing in the ARC.
An amazing three podiums from three events, however, meant Bates and McLoughlin were able to claw their way back in the second half of the season and finish as runners-up.
The two Yaris’ driven by the brothers are built and prepared by Neal Bates Motorsport in Canberra. After a development season for the car in 2018, the results this year proved the car’s reliability and speed.
John McCarthy, Harry Bates, Lewis Bates and Anthony McLaughlin. Photo: Wishart Media
The respective results of Harry and Lewis marks the first time in history that a sibling duo have claimed 1st and 2nd in the Australian Rally Championship. Aged 24, Harry also becomes the youngest-ever Australian Rally Champion.
The Bates’ defence of their title will kick-off in Canberra next year, with the first round of 2020 Australian Rally Championship being the Netier National Capital Rally, from the 21st-22nd of March, 2020.
Harry Bates: “It really has been an incredible season. For the team at Neal Bates Motorsport to have a 1-2 is honestly so deserving. The men and women behind us who make all of this happen, who built the Yaris AP4’s, who run the cars, run the team, they are the best in the country. That’s a biased opinion, but I believe it one hundred percent. The team we have here in Canberra is world class.”
Lewis Bates: “I think we should all be proud of this result. What makes this extra special is that both Yaris AP4s were built right here in Canberra by the team at Neal Bates Motorsport. The car has been a joy to drive all year. It’s so great also for Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia to have a 1-2 in the championship in their first year in this country.”
Neal Bates: “A dream result for Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia in its first season. From the outside it might look like this happened easily, but there is an incredible team behind this result at Neal Bates Motorsport who have put everything in to this year. Obviously, I’m very proud as a father as well as team principal. Harry is the youngest ever winner which is a great achievement, and for Lewis to manage runner-up in his first year in the Yaris AP4 is an equally great job from him.”
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