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BATES TO CHALLENGE WORLD RALLYING'S BEST AT PERTH

Corolla driver Neal Bates will compete in Rally Australia with access to the latest Michelin tyres and data from the technicians servicing Toyota Team Europe.

Bates and co-driver Coral Taylor believe they have their best chance yet of a major result against the stars of world rallying.

The Perth-based Rally Australia event, which will be held from November 4-7, is the penultimate round of the World Rally Championship and the final event on the domestic calendar.

Bates is confident that the switch to Michelin and a run of Australian Rally Championship heat victories will see his Corolla nipping at the heels of some of the WRC regulars.

"Michelin has a vast amount of experience sorting out which cuts and compounds suit the unique ball-bearing-like roads in Western Australia," Bates said.

"Our tyre package worked extremely well in the Perth Forest Rally earlier this year so with access to the top tyre technicians we're confident of showing a good turn of pace.

"Previously we had an enormous amount of trouble keeping tyres up to the Corolla on the longer stages."

Bates is aiming to beat perennial rival Possum Bourne and to finish in the top 10, battling with some of the full factory-backed WRC regulars.

"Possum showed in New Zealand that the level of competition at the head of the ARC is comparable to all but a handful of drivers and cars in the WRC," he said.

"Our first target is, as always, Possum, but a world championship point or two is not out of the question."

Toyota Team Australia's priority seeding allows it to use a gravel note crew for the event, with Neal's twin brother Rick performing that role.

Bates and Taylor head to Perth after scoring heat victories in the most recent ARC rounds in Melbourne and Tasmania.

TTA will test in Perth in the lead up to the rally.

Rally Australia will also be fiercely contested by title contender Didier Auriol who is second in the WRC with just two events remaining.

Toyota has a commanding lead in the WRC's manufacturers championship.

TTA's website, www.tta.rally.com.au, will provide results from Rally Australia throughout the four day event.





 
IMAGES
Neal Bates and Coral Taylor in action in their Toyota Corolla World Rally Car.