07 November 1999
BATES ROLLS OUT OF RALLY AUSTRALIA
Toyota Team Australia’s Neal Bates has been forced into retirement from Telstra Rally Australia.
Bates rolled his Corolla World Rally Car approximately 13km into SS16, Wellington Dam, mid-way through yesterdays Leg 2, after running wide on a corner.
"I caught it, but there was a small embankment that just tipped the car up and over onto its roof in a slow roll," Bates said.
At the time of the incident Bates and co-driver Coral Taylor had been making a determined attack on the 206 Peugoet WRC of Marcus Gronholm, just 9.7 seconds ahead.
Although disappointed, Bates said the team was pleased with the pace of the car up until the incident, with no errors and a virtual trouble free run marking the Corolla’s progress early in Leg 2 of the world rally championship event.
The team had taken a decision to pressure the front runners and try to register comparable times to the Peugeot and Seat teams.
"We could have played it safe but we chose to keep attacking," Bates said.
Bates and Taylor were the first non-works and first Australian team, running in eighth position outright, when the incident occurred.
Also disappointing for the team was the news the car was not seriously damaged, Bates confident it could have continued had he and Taylor been able to right it on their own.
"Basically it only suffered minor panel damage - we would have been able to keep going if we could get it back on its wheels," he said.
Bates and Taylor started Leg 2 in ninth place outright, but the exit of third-placed Colin McRae in a high speed crash on the first stage of the day moved the pair one spot.
The top placed Australians after 19 stages is now Ed Ordynski (Mitsubishi) after Group N champion Cody Crocker (Subaru) was forced into retirement on SS18, Murray Pines 2, with suspension damage.
At the head of the field Subaru’s Richard Burns has started the third and final leg of the event just 4.4 seconds ahead of Toyota Team Europe’s Carlos Sainz.
Neal Bates and Coral Taylor in action in the 1999 Rally of Perth in their Toyota Corolla World Rally Car.