Four-time Australian Rally Champions Neal Bates and Coral Taylor have been forced to retire from Day 2 of Rally Australia due to a punctured radiator.

    The pair sat in sixth place overnight in the production car category and started Day 2 intending to push back into the battle for podium honours.

    Heavy rain made the opening stages slippery, but Bates set competitive times early and had moved up to fifth place when he misjudged a fast corner over a crest.

    He ran slightly wide and although initially only suffered a harmless half-spin; a branch lying beside the road punctured a small hole in his radiator, forcing the 10-time Rally Australia entrant out for the day.

    The Neal Bates Motorsport (NBM) service crew will replace the radiator in readiness for a return to action tomorrow morning where Bates and Taylor will fight to achieve the highest possible finish.

    Scot Stewart Reid sits 13th in the invitational class of the rally in a second Corolla S2000 run by NBM.

    Neal Bates, Toyota Corolla S2000:
    “We are obviously very disappointed but that’s part of rallying. I made a small mistake when trying to make up places in the PWRC and just came over a fast crest too quick and spun it. I touched a branch lying beside the road and although there was no damage to the car, a small part of it must have touched the radiator and that did the damage. The crew have repaired the car and we will rejoin tomorrow and try and put on a good show for the local fans that have been very supportive.”

    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.

    Image courtesy of: Jeremy Rogers
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