Toyota joins Bates for Rally Australia
- 20th August 2009, 8:22am
Bates and long-time co-driver Coral Taylor will pilot their Neal Bates Motorsport (NBM) Toyota Corolla in the production car (PWRC) component of the event.
Along with support from Toyota, Bates and Taylor will be backed by CarsGuide and the Melanoma Foundation.
The announcement will see the champions make their 10th appearance in the local round of the WRC, which is being staged for the first time on the east coast in the Tweed and Kyogle Shires of the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales.
"Being able to contest Rally Australia in a car that this team has designed and built will be a truly special experience," Bates said.
"It is great to team up with Toyota again. Their support has allowed us to enter this round and I hope we can put on a good show for a car they played such a central role in developing.
"We are still awaiting the final rubber stamp from the FIA on homologation of the Corolla, but everything is progressing well and I expect we will be able to confirm we have received it in the very near future.
"It has been eight years since Coral and I competed in Rally Australia and we are looking forward to seeing how our Corolla S2000 compares to the best cars in the world."
Toyota motorsport manager Wayne Gabriel said the return of Rally Australia and the finalising of homologation presented the ideal opportunity to showcase the Corolla S2000 on the world stage.
"We felt the return of WRC to our shores and the impending homologation announcement was the ideal time to join with Neal and his team and help promote the Corolla S2000 to the world," Gabriel said.
"Toyota has been in partnership with Neal for 20 years and we wish him and the team all the best as they fly the flag for Australia against the world's best."
NBM will support a second Corolla S2000 entry in Rally Australia that will be piloted by local driver Stewart Reid, who will run in the invitational section of the PWRC.
Repco Rally Australia runs from 3 September to 6 September and gets underway on the Thursday with two runs across the Tweed Super Special Stage in Murwillumbah.
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