Hopeful Bates back with new engine

CAMS Australian Rally Championship (ARC) young gun Lewis Bates is on track to compete in Tasmania after a heavy landing in Canberra saw his rally come to a premature end.

Bates’ broke an oil line on his Toyota Corolla S2000 after an awkward landing over a jump towards the end of SS2 Hibernian I during the Netier National Capital Rally. 

Despite the retirement, the damage sustained to the car was not as bad as first anticipated with the 21-year-old relieved that the repairs required were only minor.

“Structurally the car is fine, just the bottom end of the engine needed fixing up,”” Bates said.

“We just broke the oil line off because it wasn’t really much of an impact, just awkward.

“Everything in the bottom end was damaged and couldn’t be repaired, so it needed all new components.

“Fortunately it was the only thing that was damaged which is easy to fix – just expensive.”

One month after the accident, the Corolla has been undergoing the changes required with the engine being pulled out of the car and close to going back in and Bates remains confident that he will be ready to go for the ARC’s fourth round in Tasmania.

“It’s all a timely process but fortunately it’s exactly the same engine so nothing will be different,” Bates added.

“It should be ready to ready to go barring any problem between now and Tasmania. So far it’s looking good.

“Once we get it running we have to run the engine in and will be testing at Tasmania and will double check everything is working.”

It’s been a mixed season for Bates who is enjoying his first year in the ARC, after stepping up from ARC2, claiming a fourth and sixth placing in the first two rounds to add to his DNF last month.

With the dust settled from his unfortunate retirement, the Neal Bates Motorsport driver was able to reflect on the rally, using it as a learning opportunity for the sport.

“I think it was one of those things that was a bit unlucky,” Bates added.

“I didn’t expect that the jump would kick the rear of the car so much, but then the car nosedived a lot which broke the oil line.

“I had a long chat with Dad (Neal Bates) about it and it is just one of these things with rallying. Sometimes you get lucky and other times you’re unlucky.”

Bates, who currently sits in sixth position on 86 points, trails CAMS Australian Rally Championship leader Eli Evans (215) by 129 points

The Subaru Rally Tasmania will cover more than 240 competitive kilometres in the forests surrounding Launceston on 27-29 July.

Click here for more information on the Subaru Rally Tasmania.