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Australia's Toyota Gazoo Racing team gave young driver, Troy Dowel, a Christmas present that money can't buy earlier this week. Dowel, who is battling leukaemia, has had his motorsport career put on hold because of ongoing treatment for the disease. He has currently recovered sufficiently to compete, but his scheduled entry into last month's Rally Australia was cut short when the event was cancelled due to bushfires in NSW. A drive in one of the Toyota's Yaris AP4 cars really put a smile back on his face though. Team boss, Neal Bates, had promised Troy a drive of the Yaris earlier this year, and kept his word with a high-speed test in the ARC-winning car at Mt Gambier.
"It’s a testament to the sport of rallying to see Neal Bates and the two boys drive over a thousand kilometres to fulfil a promise that Neal had made when Troy was in intensive care fighting for his life," Troy's father, Justin, said.
"The test really showed Troy has the ability needed to be competitive in rallying and it has given his confidence a real boost. We can’t thank Neal, Harry and Lewis enough for what they did. "Troy has so much respect for them and is looking forward to the 2020 Australian Rally Championship where he gets to rally with them." Harry Bates was thrilled to see Dowel driving his car.
"Got to see my Yaris AP4 from the other side today, sitting in the co-drivers seat, with @troydowel in the driver's seat," Harry Bates said.
"Aside from being a massive inspiration to us as a person, Troy impressed me a lot with his smoothness and speed, and came to grips with the Yaris quickly. It was truly a pleasure to sit next to him today - one of the highlights of my 2019." "Nice little test at Mount Gambier today!" Lewis Bates added. "Troy Dowel had a steer of the Yaris and did an awesome job! It’s so good to see you back behind the wheel 💪🏼" Current plans will see Dowel driving a Volkswagen Polo in next year's Australian Rally Championship, driving for his family's Activ RallySport team.  
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