Bates inspired by 'super talented' Wood

09 May
Zach Bates is enjoying watching Ryan Wood make his presence felt in the main game
  • Zach Bates and Ryan Wood were teammates in 2023

  • Wood finished fourth, 10th at recent Taupō round

  • Bates eighth in Super2 points after Round 1 in Bathurst

Ryan Wood’s early splash in the main game is of no surprise to former teammate Zach Bates, who says the Kiwi "works a lot harder than what people see."

Wood, 20, already has a top five finish and Shootout appearances to his name after just three rounds in the top flight.

The Kiwi, who partnered fellow rookie Bates in last year’s Dunlop Series, was called up by Walkinshaw Andretti United to replace Nick Percat alongside Chaz Mostert.

After a double DNF out of his control in the Bathurst season opener, Wood reached the top 10 in Melbourne, before qualifying for both Shootouts on home soil in Taupō.

Wood then converted in both races, finishing fourth in the challenging rain-affected opener before coming home 10th in the finale.

In one weekend, Wood jumped from 24th to 19th in the points. For Bates, who opened his Super2 season with a Race 1 podium, Wood was a strong benchmark as teammate given the Kiwi’s previous experience in Porsches.

wood mostert taupo 2024

While Bates jumped into Super2 from Toyota 86, Wood had already enjoyed a season in the Porsche Michelin Challenge.

“Working with Woody last year, I got to see first-hand how hard he works,” Bates told Supercars.com. “He’s super talented, and there was no doubt to me he would go well, so his results so far are no surprise to me.

“He’s very capable, naturally talented, and works a lot harder than what people see.

“For me, it was great to have him as a teammate — he had more experience in quicker cars with the Porsches, so he hit the ground running.

“After a few rounds, I was happy with where I was at in comparison.”

Bates is 123 points behind Kai Allen heading to the next round in Perth, with the WAU driver penalised over a clash with Cooper Murray in the second race.

While nearly a full race from the lead after one round, Bates isn’t letting the incident slow him down: “It doesn’t change my view — while it didn’t pan out, it was only Round 1.

Murray and Bates collide at The Cutting

“Look, [the incident] wasn’t ideal, but it’s a long season. Hindsight is a beautiful thing, I can’t change it now. It’s all eyes forward to Perth, and that’s all I can really do.”

In the weeks since Bathurst, Bates has completed a full test day in his #25 Commodore, turned in 10 laps at teammate Campbell Logan’s rookie day, and competed in a production car race at Winton.

Bates is confident WAU will be on the pace in Perth, given Wood dominated both races last year.

“Because we have such large gaps between races, it’s always good to get any opportunity, even if it is 10 laps,” Bates said of the rookie test.

“I got a full day which was nice, and it was good to try some stuff ahead of Perth, although we have a reasonable idea of where we want to be.

“We had some success there last year with Woody, so we know how to go fast there. It’s also nice to return to a track where I’ve been, rather than learning one.

“We can really hit the ground running in Practice 1 and focus on being happy with the car, then knuckle down with the nitty-gritty stuff, which is where the time is.”

Tickets for the Bosch Power Tools Perth SuperSprint are on sale now. International viewers can follow all the action on Superview.

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