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Reigning Australian Rally Champion, Harry Bates is not fazed by the pressure of carrying #1 on his door into the 2020 season as he aims for back to back titles.

Bates, who completed a perfect season in 2019, did not win the championship before time, and the trials and tribulations of years past meant the title was all the more sweeter.

The Canberran is staying true to his committed self as he looks to improve in 2020.

“Obviously having number one on the door is the goal, and it’s exciting to be in this position,” the 24-year-old explained.

Harry Bates and John McCarthy celebrate their 2019 title. Photo: Jack Martin

“There is obviously a little bit of pressure being the defending champion, but at the same time, I like it and feed off it, so it’s fine.

“The goal is certainly to win the ARC again and that’s what we’ll be focussing on.”

However, his 2019 season was not just the Australian title, but a clean sweep of all heat wins - an astonishing achievement.

“Whether it’s winning as many stages or whatever again, who knows,” he added.

“I’m focussing on my prep and focusing on me."

The major change for the 2020 season is the new control tyre from Hoosier, and Bates was happy but also intrigued as to how they would perform, particularly at his home event.

“The tyres feel really good. Obviously it’s a little bit tough to tell exactly what everything’s like on a three kilometre bit of road, but I’m very excited to get to Canberra and try them out there.

Harry Bates tested the Hoosier tyres at the ARC test day. Photo: Luke Whitten

“I think overall the package feels good.

“Canberra will be very different this year because normally it’s May or June and we’re fighting frosts. This year, being in the middle of March, I expect it to be quite warm.

“I reckon from that point of view it’ll be a good test for the tyre - hot surface and abrasive roads,” he concluded.

The Motorsport Australia Rally Championship will again run over six rounds, with the final round yet to be announced.
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