Following the completion of Rally Australia next week, Harry Bates' focus is likely to turn to the 2020 Junior World Rally Championship, which begins in just three months time. The Australian Rally Champion has aspirations of competing in the JWRC in a Ford Fiesta R2 next year, with the first round to be held on the snow of Sweden in mid-February. "To be honest, my focus has been on Rally Australia and getting a good result there, but if we can do that, then I'll start to concentrate on next year," Bates said.
"The money needed to compete overseas is incredibly high and won't be easy to raise, but we'll see what happens in the coming month or so."
One of the benefits of contesting the JWRC is that all cars are prepared by M-Sport as a 'turn key' deal, meaning Bates won't have to worry about getting a car prepared at the last minute. "I think the cut-off for JWRC registration is the close of entries for Sweden, which is probably mid-March," Bates added. "There's a lot of water to go under the bridge between now and then, but we'll see what happens." In the meantime, his schedule ahead of Rally Australia will be hectic as he heads to Melbourne to contest races at Sandown in the Toyota 86 one-make series.
"The racing is good fun, but because it's not my strong suit, nobody expects me to win," he added.
"I just want to compete and have a good time ... although naturally I want to do as well as I can." Bates will contest Toyota 86 races on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. At the completion of Sunday's final race, he'll be off to the airport to fly to Coffs Harbour, ahead of a Yaris AP4 test on the Monday morning.
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