Bates still in the hunt for 2009 ARC
- 3rd March 2009, 8:16am
Toyota may have pulled out of the ARC but Bates is still leading the championship and will continue to campaign the high revving Corolla, starting at his home event in Canberra this weekend.
Bates, who clinched his fourth Australian Rally Championship last year, 13 years after taking his third crown, is determined to fend off the challenge from his former employee and team mate Simon Evans and his young gun brother Eli Evans.
"I'd like to think that we will be there for the whole championship, we are pursuing sponsorship and we have had some very positive responses," said Neal Bates.
"We are really looking forward to Canberra it is our home rally and I always enjoy driving here," he said.
"Our plan of attack will be no different to when we had Toyota support you have to go as hard as you can from the start to have a chance so that is what we will be doing in Canberra," he added.
Bates says he has been working hard on his business model to ensure the future of Neal Bates Motorsport the operation based in Canberra that constructed the S2000 Corollas.
"We're confident we can make the business model work, we have trimmed our staffing levels and we're looking forward to the rest of the year, it is going to be a great battle," he said.
There will be three drivers who line up at the start of the Rally of Canberra hell bent on beating each other for the win.
Not since the early part of the decade have we seen the explosive potential for three drivers to take each other on in what is sure to be a great battle for rally honours.
It will be reminiscent of the great fights between Neal Bates and the late Possum Bourne in their ex WRC machines around the forests of Canberra.
The second round of the 2009 Australian Rally Championship, the Rally of Canberra, is famous for epic battles and gets underway this Saturday.
Bates took a clean sweep of the top positions in the opening round of the series, the Rally of Tasmania two weeks ago, with Bates beating Simon Evans who took a close second in his last drive in a Toyota.
Now Evans will be an opponent driving a Mitsubishi Evo IX under the Simons Builders banner.
"I am happy for Simon, but I am not telling him anymore of my secrets!" said Bates.
The other contender will be Eli Evans who has shown his maturity over the last year and now is more than capable of taking out the Rally of Canberra in his Tankformers Subaru.
Neal Bates currently leads the championship by seven points over Simon Evans while Eli is 11 points further back in third
The ARC field is made up of the nations fastest rally teams. In conjunction with the ARC, a round the local PCD Championship will be also run with local stars mixing it with crews from NSW and Victoria.
For full spectator details and a map go to www.roc.com.au
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