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2005 Toyota SA Rally

  1. Bates tops timesheets in shakedown for Toyota Rally SA
  2. Bates flies flag in fifth after eventful start to Toyota Rally SA
  3. Bates closes gap on leaders in Toyota Rally SA
  4. Bates blasts his way to heat win in Toyota Rally of South Australia
  5. Bates leads Toyota charge in Rally SA
  6. Bates well placed heading into final stages of Toyota Rally SA
  7. Bates agonisingly close to winning Toyota Rally SA

Bates tops timesheets in shakedown for Toyota Rally SA

Toyota Team Racing’s Neal Bates topped the timesheets in today’s shakedown session for the Toyota Rally of South Australia.

Team mate Ben Barker was fifth fastest, while local rally hero Ed Ordynski did a fantastic job to finish 7th fastest in his first competitive hit-out in the Lincorp Corolla. Simon Evans finished just outside the top ten after a somehwat leisurely lap of the Mount Crawford special stage.

Bates, who is running a new active centre differential for the first time, was optimistic about the team’s chances for the weekend.

"The car felt great and there were no dramas with the new diff, so everything’s looking good for the weekend. We’ll learn a little more about what it can do over the next couple of days, but so far so good," he said.

Bates said road and weather conditions were perfect for the event.

“The roads are in superb condition at the moment. If the weather stays like this we’re are going to see some very fast stage times and with a bit of luck the Corollas will be right in the mix,” he said.

The rally kicks off with a ceremonial start in the Barossa town of Tanunda tonight, before competitors head to the forests around Mt Crawford tomorrow morning.

The South Australian round of the ARC last year set an Australian record of 29,700 spectators.

It features fast, open roads of excellent quality in Mount Crawford, the Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills, with excellent spectator points.

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Bates flies flag in fifth after eventful start to Toyota Rally SA

Neal Bates lies fifth in the Toyota Rally of South Australia after an eventful morning for Toyota in the forests around Mount Crawford.

Bates is leading the charge for TTR after Simon Evans hit an embankment on Stage 2 of the rally and suffered two flat tyres, losing six minutes to the leading cars.

Rookie Ben Barker is 9th in the rally, 30.3sec off the lead.

Evans started the day brightly for TTR, winning the first stage of the day from Subaru’s Crocker.

But on the super fast High Eden stage, the popular Victorian misjudged a crest and ran wide into an embankment.

Evans was disappointed but vowed to keep pushing hard in the rally.

"What do you say, we were doing the best we could. We were in the lead of the rally again and pushing really hard and just misjudged a crest," he said.

“That’s just the way it goes. We’ll just go out tomorrow and do the best we can,” he said.

Bates was satisfied with his morning’s work.

“The car felt really good and the diff worked really well in the handbrake turns, so all in all I’m pretty happy with where we are,” he said.

Barker adopted a cautious approach on his first competitive stages in a Rally of South Australia.

“Obviously we don’t have any experience on these roads so we are losing some time to the locals and the more experienced guys who have done the rally before. But I’m happy with how we are placed,” he said.

Ed Ordynski is lying in 11th place in the Lincorp Corolla.

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Bates closes gap on leaders in Toyota Rally SA

Toyota Team Racing’s Neal Bates has moved into 3rd place in the Toyota Rally South Australia, posting two fastest stages to close the gap to rally leader Cody Crocker.

Bates was fastest on stages four and five of the rally, closing the gap to Crocker to just 7.6 seconds after six stages. He is just 1.6 seconds behind Scott Pedder in 2nd place.

Team mate Ben Barker has also moved up the leader board and sits in 7th place, despite losing his power steering early on stage 6. Ed Ordynski is 10th in his comeback rally.

Earlier in the day Simon Evans was forced out of Heat One after he hit an embankment and damaged two tyres.

Bates was happy with his pace, but cautious about predicting a podium in a tightly bunched field.

"The car feels really good, everything’s happening as it should. Let’s just hope we can keep it that way," he said.

“Realistically, it’s going to be very difficult to catch Cody, but we’ll keep pushing as hard as we can and see what happens,” he said.

Barker is still adapting to the South Australian roads, but felt more comfortable in his second stint this morning.

“We came through that group of stages quite well. We made a couple of changes to the set up and changed the tyre and it worked for us.

“I’m still getting used to the roads, so I’m not disappointed with where I am. The competition is really fierce out there today and if we can bring it home where we are we’ll be happy,” he said.

The rally continues this afternoon with four more stages.

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Bates blasts his way to heat win in Toyota Rally of South Australia

Triple Australian rally champion Neal Bates turned the clock back this afternoon to win a thrilling battle on Day One of the Toyota Rally of South Australia.

Bates hunted down series leader Cody Crocker and Mitsubishi’s Scott Pedder in the afternoon stages, eventually beating Pedder by just 0.4 seconds, with Crocker a further 4.7sec behind.

Team mate Ben Barker completed a strong day for Toyota, with a controlled drive to 7th place in his first attempt at the Rally of South Australia.

Bates was elated to have provided Toyota with its first heat win of the season.

"Everything worked really well today, we had incredibly good grip from our new compound Michelins and it just all came together," he said.

“I’m just absolutely over the moon. Everyone in the team has put so much work and so many hours into this, it’s just an unbelievable feeling to be able to win it for them, especially in the Toyota Rally of South Australia,” he said.

“Of course, we’ve got to remember that there’s another day to go in the rally, but for now, we’re just going to sit back and enjoy the moment,” he said.

Barker drove with great maturity to finish in 7th, improving with every stage of the rally.

“It’s my first time here so I was pretty cautious early on, but I felt more and more comfortable as the day went on,” he said.

“Those last couple of stages were pretty hairy. As the sun went down it got pretty slippery and it was tough going.

“Overall, I’m really happy with our performance today. The car was strong and we were matching it with the leaders as the day wore on,” he said.

The team recovered from a disastrous start to the day, when championship frontrunner Simon Evans misjudged a crest and hit an embankment.

The impact damaged two tyres and the popular Victorian was forced to retire from the heat.

Toyota Motorsport Development Manager Phil Galway said the result was a great boost for the company’s rally effort.

“Neal did a superb job today, as did the entire TTR crew – it’s a sensational result for Toyota, especially in the rally bearing our name,” he said.

“With a bit of luck we can repeat the dose tomorrow and come up with a round win,” he said.

The heat win was the first for the team this year.

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Bates leads Toyota charge in Rally SA

Neal Bates leads a group of four Toyota Corollas in the top ten after three stages on day two of the Toyota Rally of South Australia.

Bates, who won yesterday’s heat, is lying 5th, just 13sec behind surprise leader Steve Glenney.

Ben Barker has continued his solid form to hold down 7th place, while Simon Evans is 9th and Ed Ordynski 10th.

Bates was satisfied with his pace in the first stages, although he admitted the team suffered in the morning stages from a tyre choice gamble that didn’t pay off.

"The compound we chose for this morning was too soft, but we’re still in touch with the leaders and the car itself feels very good," he said.

“We are changing to the tyre we used yesterday so we should be able to push a bit harder from now on,” he said.

Evans was battling some understeer in the morning stages, but was satisfied with his times.

“I had a big overshoot on the second stage of the morning and lost some time, but other than that I’m happy with where I am at this stage,” he said.

“Basically I want to push now and really start attacking,” he said.

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Bates well placed heading into final stages of Toyota Rally SA

TTR’s Neal Bates remains in the hunt for outright honours in the Toyota Rally of South Australia with four stages remaining.

Bates lies 5th in today’s heat, just 13.2sec behind leader Scott Pedder and 3.8sec behind 2nd placed Steve Glenney.

The TTR team boss leads a group of four Corollas in the top ten of today’s heat, with team mate Simon Evans in 7th place, Ben Barker 8th and Ed Ordynski 10th.

"We’re going as hard as we possibly can. The rally is incredibly tight and we’re just going to hang in there and see what we can do this afternoon," he said.

“The car’s been strong all day and the tyres are working well. We’re over the moon it’s been dry and it looks as if it will stay that way for the rest of the rally, which is good,” he said.

Simon Evans adopted a cautious approach in today’s heat, following his DNF yesterday. The Victorian was hampered by the fact that he missed stages that have been re-run this morning.

“I’m really just trying to drive consistently and push as hard as I can without taking too many risks. I really need to take home points today,” he said.

“Apart from an overshoot on one stage, I’ve been pretty happy with my performance this morning and we’ll be looking to bring it home this afternoon,” he said.

Ben Barker has continued to drive a level-headed race, although he lacked grip on some stages of the rally.

“We struggled a bit with the tyre choice, but I’m happy with how we’re travelling. It’s very competitive out there today, but we’ve been posting some good times,” he said.

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Bates agonisingly close to winning Toyota Rally SA

Toyota Team Racing’s Neal Bates has come within 0.6sec of victory in a thrilling Toyota Rally of South Australia this afternoon.

Bates came into the last stage of the day needing to overhaul a 2.6sec deficit to Subaru’s Juha Kangas in order to win his first rally since developing the Group N (Prototype) Corolla.

A 2nd place in today’s heat, combined with a bonus point for winning the most stages, would have edged out Mitsubishi’s Scott Pedder for first place in the rally.

But despite an inspirational drive on the short last stage, the TTR team boss came up agonisingly short, finishing 0.6sec behind Kangas in 3rd place.

Despite the heartbreak of coming so close to a win, Bates was a proud man on the podium in the Mount Crawford forest.

"Everyone in the team has worked so hard to get us competitive in the ARC and it’s just great to be able to give them something back.

“It’s also fantastic to be able to repay Toyota’s faith in our team by getting a podium in the Toyota Rally of South Australia," he said.

“Today was a bit of a topsy-turvy day. We went from fifth to second in two stages and back to 4th in the next one. But that just shows how tight this championship is,” he said.

Bates’ second place capped off a red letter for Toyota, with four Corollas finishing in the top ten.

Simon Evans came home 6th for TTR, while Ben Barker was ninth and Ed Ordynski tenth.

Bates said tyre choice had been the key to the team’s strong performance.

“Michelin gave us a new tyre compound this weekend and it worked really well for us in the afternoon stages. The grip we had yesterday was phenomenal and it really helps your confidence as a driver,” he said.

Evans drove conservatively today after his DNF in yesterday’s heat.

“I just tried to keep it clean and consistent and not take any risks today. And while I’m never happy to finish 6th in a heat, I thought I drove pretty well today,” he said.

“I also managed to get in front of Dean Herridge and pull some points back in the championship, so that’s important,” he said.

Barker ran as high as 7th today, but a mishap on the second last stage dropped him to 9th.

“We overshot a junction and got beached in a gutter at the side of the road, which cost us 16 seconds,” he said.

“It was a disappointing end to the rally, but overall I’m reasonably happy with what we achieved this weekend.

“It’s my first time at this rally and I was matching times with the leading drivers on a consistent basis,” he said.

Local hero Ed Ordynski was happy with his top ten finish on both days.

“The weekend has been brilliant for me. I managed to break into the top ten in a borrowed car and I got to be part of all the excitement in the TTR camp. I also got to witness Neal put in one of the finest drives I’ve seen in this championship,” he said.

Rally of South Australia – final placings

1. Scott Pedder Mitsubishi 36
2. Neal Bates Toyota 35
3. Cody Crocker Subaru 26
4. Steve Glenney Subaru 20
4. Juha Kangas Subaru 20
6. Dean Herridge Subaru 18
7. Sam Brand Subaru 12
8. Simon Evans Toyota 8
8. Ben Barker Toyota 8
10. Ed Ordynski Toyota 2
10. Jack Monkhouse Mitsubishi 2

Championship points (after 4 of 6 rounds)

1. Cody Crocker Subaru 149
2. Scott Pedder Mitsubishi 102
3. Dean Herridge Subaru 88
4. Juha Kangas Subaru 72
5. Simon Evans Toyota 70
6. Neal Bates Toyota 63
7. Steve Glenney Subaru 45
8. Brad Goldsborough Subaru 44
9. Jack Monkhouse Mitsubishi 30
10. Ben Barker Toyota 21

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