** Toyota GAZOO Racing Australia rally team wins National Capital Rally **
** Harry Bates/John McCarthy win seven of eight stages to take both heats **
** Toyota GAZOO Racing WRC team’s Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja win Rally Chile **
Toyota GAZOO Racing Australia (TGRA) rally team’s Harry Bates and co-driver John McCarthy have secured their place at the top of the leaderboard in the Australian Rally Championship following a win in the National Capital Rally in ACT over the weekend.
Bates and McCarthy’s back-to-back wins, having won in their first outing for the season at the Forest Rally in WA last month, has given the pair a lead of 44 points in the championship.
It was a big weekend of Toyota rally success with the TGRA rally team’s victory mirrored by its international compatriots with the Toyota GAZOO Racing World Rally Team’s Ott Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja being the fastest across three days of special stages to take the win in the inaugural Rally Chile.
Tänak drove brilliantly to secure his second WRC rally win for the season clinching overall victory by 23.1 seconds and gaining valuable points that pushed him into second place in the driver’s championship just 10 points behind the leader after five rounds of the WRC.
Toyota’s three-car Yaris WRC team currently sits in second place in the manufacturers’ championship with the WRC returning to Europe for Rally Portugal from May 30 – June 2.
Toyota Chief Marketing Officer Wayne Gabriel said it has been a great few weeks for Toyota in motorsport.
“We wrapped up the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and had great success in rallying on both sides of the Pacific,” Mr Gabriel said.
“In WEC, we are proving the performance of our hybrid technology while our victory in rallies is a showcase of the performance and reliability of the Yaris rally cars as well as the driving talent evident in both TGR and TGRA teams.
“On an international level, the TGR WRC team led by rally legend Tommi Mäkinen
is proving to be a formidable force that has very strong potential to again take the world championship this year.
“And we are very proud to see our local factory-backed TGRA rally team following the same course. Harry is driving better than ever, and he and the rest of the team have built a pair of Yaris AP4 rally cars that are proving to be very fast and reliable.”
Harry Bates said he was rapt to take the win in his home town rally especially after such a hard-fought victory.
“It was a pretty tough day but the car performed really well and we got through with seven stage wins. I don’t think you could ask for more than that although next time we can maybe go one better and take them all,” he said.
Harry’s brother Lewis Bates and co-driver Anthony McLoughlin in the second TGRA Yaris AP4 were never far behind either.
However, after clipping an inside dirt wall on the fourth stage in Tidbinbilla Forest, the younger Bates’ car rolled and while he limped home to complete the stage, the car wasn’t able to be repaired, forcing a retirement.
With Harry leading the driver’s championship and Lewis now slipping back to fourth place, Toyota is currently second in the manufacturers’ championship in the ARC, just two points behind arch-rival Subaru.
The ARC next heads to the Apple Isle for Rally Tasmania from June 21-23.
Toyota has a proud international motorsport history spanning more than 60 years. It became the first Japanese car manufacturer to enter international motorsport when it contested the 1957 Mobilgas Round Australia Rally, which is why many people consider Australia to be the birthplace of Toyota motorsport. Today, Toyota GAZOO Racing contests the FIA-sanctioned World Rally Championship, World Endurance Championship which features the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the gruelling Dakar rally. Closer to home, Toyota GAZOO Racing Australia supports the Toyota 86 Racing Series that seeks to develop the talent of tomorrow as Australia’s premier grassroots circuit-racing category. In rallying, Toyota also supports the Toyota GAZOO Racing Australia rally team in the Australian Rally Championship.