Harry Bates will debut his brand new Toyota Yaris AP4 this weekend, and despite the stressful build up, he is confident that the car will deliver this weekend.
RallySport Magazine caught up with him at a special dinner in the Barossa Valley on Thursday night.
RallySport Magazine: Firstly, congratulations on the build on the new car. The build was obviously a long process. The last two weeks have been pretty stressful, I’m sure. How have the team handled it all?
Harry Bates: They’ve done really well. They’re a very professional bunch, and they’ve done this before. So, for me, a lot of it was quite new, but for them it’s nothing they haven’t done before.
Yes, it’s been stressful and a bit of a labour of love and lots of people have come together to make it all happen, but I think we’re all just really excited to see it going this weekend and seeing our hard work come to fruition.
RSM: You tested the car last Friday for the first time. How many kilometres did you do, and how is it feeling in the car?
HB: We did about 50 kilometres, and the feeling was pretty good straight away. We’re starting from scratch with set-up and so on, so I was already making quite a lot of changes and trying to get the car set-up more to my liking.
To be honest, we’re going to be doing a lot of it this weekend, throughout the rally, but that’s the main reason we wanted to debut it here, to get kilometres in the car.
If we can get a good result this weekend, then that’ll be a bonus, but it’s all about trying to get the car right before Rally Australia in November.
RSM: You recently test drove the R5 Toyota in Paraguay. What ideas have you been able to take from that car?
HB: When we started the project, we knew that they had a similar car, and they were able to help us out with a few engine ideas.
We’re running a different restrictor size to them, and a different gearbox. So the car is quite different, but it was still good to get an idea of the feel of the car and it gave me a good base for this car.
RSM: Are you confident the car will be reliable?
HB: Yes. The team have done this before, as I said. I guess reliability is probably always a question with any new car, but I’ve got good faith in the guys, and whatever will be, will be.
Reliability is always a risk no matter what the car. I hope we can have a clean run and have no issues.
RSM: Lastly, how much fun is it to drive?
HB: Lots of fun! It’s lots of fun, and I hope everyone loves it, because I think these new cars are exciting and will probably bring more and more people to the sport."
You can also view a feature of the Yaris AP4 on RallySport Magazine.
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