Brothers Harry and Lewis Bates will form a two-pronged attack on this year’s Australian Rally Championship.
Despite thoughts that he may head to Europe to further his blossoming career, the older Bates brother says his sole focus in 2018 is winning the ARC.
Harry Bates will further develop Neal Bates Motorsport’s Toyota Yaris AP4, while younger brother Lewis will campaign the team’s seemingly ageless Corolla Super 2000.
Harry Bates and John McCarthy won last year's Eureka Rally.
“We are really keen to try and put our bad luck behind us and win some more rallies this season,” Harry Bates said.
“Sponsorship talks are all still happening, and hopefully we can provide more info early in the New Year, but I’m very fortunate to have some loyal supporters who are very keen to continue with myself and the team in 2018.”
With John McCarthy in the co-driver’s seat again, Harry says his goals are to enjoy the new car, win many stages and rallies, and see where that gets him.
“I’m expecting there to once again be some serious competition in the ARC, so at this point you’d be a brave person to pick a winner.”
Bates added that he has no plans for anything outside Australia at this stage.
“Our current focus is getting the ARC right,” he said.
Lewis Bates will contest the full ARC in 2018. Photo: Geoff Ridder
One of Harry’s rivals this year may well be his brother.
After a successful debut in the S2000 Corolla that his father, Neal, won the Australian Rally Championship in, Lewis Bates is excited about what 2018 offers.
“I competed in the S2000 car for the first time at Rally Australia and had a successful event,” he said.
Lewis Bates had a successful S2000 debut at Rally Australia last year. Photo: Dave King
“I’m still working on finding the necessary sponsorship for the 2018 season, but my goal is to finish in the top five in the ARC.
“If I could sneak in a podium (during the year) I would be very happy.”
It means that 2018 will be an incredibly busy year for the Canberra based team, and the chances of seeing Neal Bates back out on the stages in his classic Toyota Celica could be slim.
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