Mostert, Percat and Luff's tips key to Bates breakthrough

Dunlop Series
11 Oct
The WAU rookie scored his first Dunlop Series podium in Bathurst
3 mins by James Pavey
  • Zach Bates scored his first Super2 podium in Bathurst

  • WAU rookie was equal third in Sandown, but missed out on countback

  • Bates is the son of rally driver Rick Bates and nephew of champion Neal Bates

Advice from the likes of Bathurst stars Chaz Mostert, Nick Percat and Warren Luff proved key in Zach Bates’ maiden Dunlop Series podium at Mount Panorama.

The 19-year-old secured his first podium in a Supercar at the Repco Bathurst 1000, behind Kai Allen and Zak Best.

Bates, the son of rally driver Rick Bates and the nephew of multiple Australian champion Neal Bates, has been building confidence all season.

With headlines surrounding Ryan Wood’s impending move to the main game, Bates has quietly improved week on week, and has finished no lower than seventh in the last five races.

Bates was no stranger to the Mountain, winning all three Toyota 86 races in Bathurst last year as he fought for the title with Lachlan Gibbons.

MH1 6574

This year, the teenager had over 600 horsepower at his disposal — but with the likes of Mostert, Percat and Luff sharing their guidance, Bates had the tools and smarts to get the job done.

“I hadn’t been to Bathurst in a fast car like that, the 86 is all I’d driven there before,” Bates told Supercars.com.

“It was definitely a big learning curve, there’s still lots to learn and build on, but this year the team’s done a great job getting me up to speed.

“You have things in your head like getting a top five, but the main goal has always been to learn and get up to speed as quick as possible in a Supercar.

"I was definitely asking a lot of questions and quizzing them a lot, it was good to have their advice to lean on.

“Just needed to take slow steps through practice then once you get a new tyre on, you have more grip across the top and you can go harder and harder, closer to the wall."

Best false start, Vaughan stall headline dramatic start

Bates fought with Allen in the finale, and when a penalty for Best was adjusted, the #2 WAU Commodore was just 0.564s from second, which would have been a career-best result.

There’s more for Bates to chase, with the rookie just 60 points behind third-placed teammate Wood in the Super2 standings with the VAILO Adelaide 500 remaining.

“I started sixth, it could’ve been better because I got held up on my lap,” he said.

“I moved forward and got tucked up behind Kai there for a lot of the race, I’d catch him then I’d fall back a little bit, we ebbed and flowed.

“It was very, very enjoyable and a great result for the team.”

Best leads Allen by 30 points heading to Adelaide, with Wood, Cooper Murray and Bates 231, 255 and 291 points behind.

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