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Rally Australia

  1. DISAPPOINTING END TO BATES' RALLY OZ
  2. LOCAL HEROES OUT OF DAY 2
  3. BATES CLAIMS FINAL STAGE TO STAY IN TOUCH
  4. COROLLA LOCKED IN FOUR-WAY BATTLE
  5. BATES TOPS PWRC SHAKEDOWN
  6. BATES LAUNCHES WEBSITE AHEAD OF WRC RETURN

DISAPPOINTING END TO BATES' RALLY OZ


Experienced Australian rally duo Neal Bates and Coral Taylor endured mixed fortunes in their highly-anticipated return to Rally Australia where they were eventually forced out this morning on the final day of the event.

The four-time Australian Rally Champions rejoined the action this morning after missing yesterday afternoon's stages due to a punctured radiator.

Bates and Taylor set competitive times in the morning and looked set to claim seventh in the production category until they were forced to retire after stage 30 due to a broken oil line fitting.

Despite not attaining the high finish expected, the Toyota Corolla S2000 highlighted its pace by matching the times of the world's leading teams, with Bates even topping the timesheets around the Tweed Super Special Stage on Friday night.

The newly-homologated car - which is now cleared to compete throughout the Asia-Pacific region - received lots of attention from the visiting international media.

It also proved a huge hit with the thousands of vocal fans that lined the stages and voiced their support for the Toyota crew across the three days of the event.

Brisbane-based Scot, Stewart Reid recorded a strong fourth place finish in the national category of the rally in his first drive in a Neal Bates Motorsport Toyota Corolla S2000.

Reid was pleased with his debut outing and by Day 3 was bettering the times of the drivers ahead of him.

Neal Bates, Toyota Corolla S2000 - Car #60:
"It was going well at the start of the day and then halfway through the third stage we lost oil pressure. I found a broken fitting and performed a temporary repair and although we got going, we unfortunately ran out of time to check into the next stage. It was just gut wrenching. We did the next two stages but then had to withdraw at the midday service due to the regulations of the event. Overall I am very happy with how the car performed throughout the rally as the main cause of the problems was me causing a spin on Day 2. After that put us out of contention we turned the rally into a bit of a test and today's problem stemmed from a development radiator we fitted that had some extra fittings. One of these cracked and caused the problem. The Corolla set strong stage times throughout, including a fastest in the PWRC and it was really just a small mistake from me that stopped us getting the result we hoped for."


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 Australia has teamed up with MySpace to give MySpace Music users the ultimate playlists from influential tastemakers including Toyota ambassadors, influential music artists and sporting personalities.

More information on MySpace Music will be available when it is launched in Australia in October 2009.

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LOCAL HEROES OUT OF DAY 2


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.

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BATES CLAIMS FINAL STAGE TO STAY IN TOUCH


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.

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COROLLA LOCKED IN FOUR-WAY BATTLE


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.

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BATES TOPS PWRC SHAKEDOWN


Local favourite Neal Bates has started his bid for category honours in Rally Australia in ideal fashion, topping the times in the Production World Rally Championship (PWRC) shakedown this morning.

Four-time national rally champion Bates and co-driver Coral Taylor finished the morning ahead of their more-fancied international rivals and three-time Asia-Pacific Rally Champion, Australian Cody Crocker.

Bates and Taylor set a time of 1m43.0s around the testing course which featured a mixture of corners representative of the 35 stages being used for this weekend's Down Under round of the World Rally Championship (WRC).

The result highlights the competitiveness of the Neal Bates Motorsport Toyota Corolla S2000 which is competing for the first time in a world championship event.

Competitive action commences tonight with two Super Special Stages at Murwillumbah, south-west of Tweed Heads before crews head into the forest tomorrow for the first full day of action.


Neal Bates, Toyota Corolla S2000 - Car #60:
"We had a great run this morning in shakedown and the car is set-up well to handle the conditions. The shakedown stage included a mix of fast and slow corners and two jumps so it gave us a good chance to get a feel for the Corolla in all conditions. The entire team is looking forward to the event and I can't wait for tonight's Super Special Stage, the crowd should be huge."


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.

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BATES LAUNCHES WEBSITE AHEAD OF WRC RETURN


Multiple Australian Rally Championship-winning motorsport team Neal Bates Motorsport (NBM) has launched its website just days before it makes its highly-anticipated return to the world rally stage at Repco Rally Australia.

NBM's home in cyberspace can be found at www.NealBates.com.au and provides an opportunity for fans of the team to keep up to date with all the latest news, starting with the local round of the World Rally Championship (WRC).

"I hope our fans enjoy looking at the site and I urge them to keep up to date with everything from Rally Australia throughout the week," team boss Neal Bates said.

The four-time Australian Rally Champion will be joined by regular co-driver Coral Taylor for the Down Under round of the WRC and he is eagerly awaiting the chance to pit his locally developed Toyota Corolla S2000 against the world's best teams.

"I saw the DVD of the roads that went out to all the competitors and I must say they look absolutely fantastic," Bates said.

"The road surface will be similar to the rally we do in nearby Coffs Harbour. If it stays dry the roads will be hard-packed and fast, but if it rains then the roads could get extremely slippery."

The rally will be the first for Bates' newly-homologated Corolla S2000, which has been through the final stages of approval to allow it to compete in international events.

Rally Australia will be the 10th time Bates and Taylor have contested the local round of the WRC, and Bates thinks people will be surprised by the number of spectators that attend.

"The car is primed and ready and our goal is to be up the front in the lead bunch," Bates said.

"A PWRC (production class) podium is certainly possible, and we are aiming for it, but the competition will be tough and it won't be an easy task.

"WRC's return is fantastic for rallying and it has proved so popular that the organisers had to produce more tickets. The rally will also bring a lot of investment to the area - I really think people will get a shock at how big it is going to be."

NBM will run a short test session on Monday before Rally Australia gets underway on Thursday night with two runs on the Tweed Super Special Stage, based at Murwillumbah, south-west of Tweed Heads.

Rally Australia will be contested across 35 stages - the most of any WRC round - and includes more than 340 kilometres of competitive action.

NBM will be tackling Repco Rally Australia with support from Toyota Australia, Carsguide.com.au and the Melanoma Foundation.

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