After plenty of hard work and patience 2018 proved to be a strong year for the Toyota Yaris AP4.
Much hype surrounded the debut of the Toyota Yaris AP4 in the CAMS Australian Rally Championship (ARC) back in September 2017.
Built in-house at Neal Bates Motorsport in Canberra, Harry Bates and John McCarthy had high hopes the new wheels would help them on their way to the Australian title.
However it wasn’t to be, with the team suffering a difficult back-end to the 2017 ARC season, highlighted when mechanical failures in the Yaris derailed their championship hopes in SA and the 2017 Kennards Hire Rally Australia.
The Neal Bates Motorsport crew worked tirelessly over the off-season to improve the reliability of the Yaris, setting up another tilt at the top prize.
Ahead of the 2018 season opener in Victoria, there was a lot of optimism floating around Bates camp, with the crew confident their work over the summer would pay off during The Courier Eureka Rally.
In the first day of competition, Bates and McCarthy burst out of the block for the perfect start in the Yaris AP4, posting the fastest time on the first two stages, much to the happiness of the whole team.
The pair continued their good form for the remainder of the heat, ending the day with a sensational five of eight stage wins and the heat.
They were just as impressive in heat two, fastest on six of the day’s seven stages, which included a tie on the day’s final stage with Steve Glenney, while 2016 champion Molly Taylor took out the only other stage win.
Plenty of drama on the track as the Eureka Rally roared through town. Molly Taylor hitting a kangaroo, while Harry Bates went back to back. See the action @WINNews_Bal at 6pm
— Cam Inglis (@inglis_cam) March 5, 2018
It was an emphatic first victory for the Toyota Yaris AP4, a round win with a clean sweep of both heats and the bonus point for the most stage wins. It was also the first ARC win for a car built to the AP4 regulations.
A welcome reward for the team’s hard work and dedication in the off season.
— The Courier Sport (@sportcourier) March 4, 2018