Leading Australian driver Neal Bates remains in the leading group of PWRC drivers at the end of Day 1 action in Rally Australia after setting the fastest class stage time on the final stage before the weekend action.
Bates and co-driver Coral Taylor ran in the top-three for most of the morning loop, but struggled in the afternoon as the roads became more slippery.
Four-time Australian Rally Champion Bates believes the last forest stages of the day had the least amount of grip of any rally road he has ever seen.
Although the Toyota pair slipped to sixth place by the conclusion of Day 1, close competition sees them lie just 46.2s behind the leader.
The outlook for Day 2 is more positive as the wider, faster shire roads are better suited to their Toyota Corolla S2000 rally car.
Neal Bates – Toyota Corolla S2000:
“We had a mixed day today. Things started well this morning and then got a little difficult this afternoon with a series of very tight stages. I’m not sure why I struggled with them and lost so much time and although we dropped from third to sixth in PWRC, it was nice to come out and win the final stage of the day. Today’s rallying was on some of the tightest stages I have ever competed on, but tomorrow we move to nice wide shire roads and that should suit us better.”
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.