New Toyota Yaris AP4 rally car debuts at ARC

Neal Bates Motorsport driver Harry Bates has unveiled his new Toyota Yaris AP4 to a rough weekend in the Australian Rally Championship (ARC).

The 224kW/420Nm 1.6-litre turbo four powered monster of a hatch debuted at Rally SA at the weekend, though it didn’t quite meet expectations as it was sidelined for most of the event after mechanical trouble.

Prior to the less-than-fortuitous weekend, Harry Bates said he and the team (including father Neal Bates, former ARC/WRC driver and four-time ARC title-holder) were confident the 1230kg Yaris would perform well.

Toyota-Yaris-AP4-rally-car.jpg"The new Yaris lived up to expectations by performing flawlessly in our first fully fledged shakedown just a week before its competition debut in Rally SA," Bates says.

"The shakedown confirmed our decision to opt for the Yaris with its combination of small, light car with turbo performance resulting in brisk acceleration, excellent suspension travel and nimble handling.”

"It was quick and strong, just as you'd expect from the latest in a long line of rally cars built by dad and his team at Neal Bates Motorsport."

Toyota-Yaris-AP4-rally-car-engine.jpgThe Yaris’ engine apparently suffered a misfire on day one, leaving the team scrambling to fix it before the second day.

Day two saw the car make one stage before being pulled out again. This left Harry bates third on the ladder, dropping down two rungs from the top spot.

Despite the unfortunate incident in South Australia, the Yaris performed well previous to the weekend, and will continue to be the team’s runner into the next season.

Toyota Yaris AP4 rally car offroadingThe Yaris, which was custom-built by Neal Bates, has been built to local AP4 rally regs.

As such, it'd powered by a de-stroked 1.8-litre 2ZZ-GE which complies to the necessary 1.6-litre limitations, aided by a 34mm inlet restrictor to limit power output.

It's also relying on a Sadev six-speed sequential gearbox with Sadev differentials to get power to the wheels.

The car it replaced, the Neal Bates Motorsport S2000 Corolla, had been the team’s car for 10 years.

"For its time, the Corolla was one of the best S2000 cars in the world," says Neal Bates.

Toyota-Yaris-AP4-rally-car-dirt-road-driving.jpg"But everything in motorsport moves on and there has been so much progress in the last ten years that we have incorporated into the new Yaris."

The final round of the ARC will be held at Rally Australia in Coffs Harbour in November in conjunction with the final round of the World Rally Championship.

Get your free weekly report from the world of fast cars - subscribe to the MOTOR newsletter!