Neal Bates and Coral Taylor are running at the front of the Production World Rally Championship (PWRC) field in their Neal Bates Motorsport Toyota Corolla S2000 after the opening loop of stages on Day 1 of Rally Australia.
The four-time Australian Rally Champions currently sit fourth in the PWRC field, 17.6s behind New Zealand’s Richard Mason.
Bates is pleased with the handling of his Corolla S2000, but believes the stages on Days two and three will better-suit his naturally-aspirated machine.
Day 1’s morning loop covered seven stages of differing lengths, although all proved difficult due to changing conditions.
Dust on the early stages gave way to a slippery road surface on the latter that saw most drivers in the field struggle to find suitable levels of grip.
Brisbane-based Scot, Stewart Reid who is running a second Corolla S2000 was sitting 12th in the invitational section of the event until a broken prop shaft dropped him down the order. His car has been repaired and he will rejoin tomorrow at the start of Day 2.
Neal Bates, Toyota Corolla S2000 – Car #60:
“The last three stages were very tight and we struggled for pace, but aside from that the car is great and we are really happy. This afternoon’s stages will be equally difficult, although they should be the last of the really slippery ones as the roads on Day 2 and 3 will offer more grip. The Corolla is absolutely fantastic and we have been up there in the fast group all day which is good. We are enjoying being out there although there is a lot of work to do yet as everyone is pushing as hard as they can.”
Fans of NBM can keep up with the action from Rally Australia at www.carsguide.com.au or www.youtube.com/nealbatesmotorsport or on Twitter @Toyota_Aus.
Neal Bates Motorsport is running Rally Australia with support from Toyota, Carsguide.com.au, the Melanoma Foundation and MySpace Music.
Toyota and Neal Bates Motorsport is happy to assist the Melanoma Institute of Australia (MIA) to promote the risks of skin cancer as part of National Shades Day on Saturday, 5 September. National Shades Day is a day dedicated to a day dedicated to raising awareness of melanoma and skin cancer, in particular among 13-39 year olds who are most at risk.
Established in 2007, the MIA was set up as an independent non-profit organisation dedicated to research into melanoma to ensure that better treatments are discovered, with the ultimate aim of developing a cure for the disease. The MIA is the next stage of the development of the Sydney Melanoma Unit and a world leader in melanoma research.