Gippsland Rally, the final before Harry Bates’ WRC debut!

The current Australian Rally Champ has announced his debut in the World Rally Championship, Repco Rally New Zealand next month. This makes The Middle of Everywhere Gippsland Rally his final rally before the big one.

Pedders Suspension has made an extraordinary opportunity come true for Bates, and it only seems fitting with his level of talent. The twenty seven year old has a WRC2 class Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo as his weapon to make an international impression. At first, the car choice might seem strange as he is Toyota exclusive. But the fact is Toyota don’t have a car homologated with the world motorsport governing body, the FIA in the WRC2 class.

Rally driver Harry Bates
Australian Rally Champion Harry Bates smiles proudly as he announces his World Rally Championship debut.

Bates’ excitement comes through in his statement on the Pedders website;

“As a driver, you’re always looking for the next opportunity, so for this to be happening is truly a dream come true and I can’t thank Pedders enough for helping me achieve this,” Bates said.

“I’m a competitor and I love a battle, so to me it is super exciting to be up against talented WRC regulars and the likes of highly respected Kiwis such Hayden Paddon, Shane van Gisbergen and Ben Hunt in their home rally – John and I can’t wait to test ourselves against some of the best.

“It’s been months of hard work for our small team to get to this point, and I am so fortunate and humbled to have the help and support from people in Australia as well as overseas.

“I still can’t quite believe Pedders is trusting me with this huge opportunity, but I feel so ready to be making my WRC2 debut and I am really grateful to Scott and Mark Pedder, and the entire Pedders team, for seeing something in me.

“They have been the driving force behind the Rally New Zealand program we have pulled together, and I hope to do them proud.

“I must also thank Toyota Australia for allowing me to take this opportunity.”

Meet Harry during The Middle of Everywhere Gippsland Rally. Meet the Drivers session on Friday 26 August at 4:30 in the Rally Village, Gordon Street Recreation Reserve. And see him in action over the course of the rally!

Author: Michael Finger

Hi, I’m Michael and I’m a freelance photojournalist. I live in Montmorency, in the north eastern suburbs of Melbourne and I offer a range of photography services to help you achieve the results you’re after.