Gitlab CICD timed out in Digital Ocean Kubernetes

Digital Ocean Kubernetes have upgraded well beyond the standard version offered in Gitlab CICD. The minimum version currently is 1.14.8, 1.15.5 and 1.16.2 and all 3 Kubernetes versions failed with exactly the same error (timeout). See below:

 ==> v1beta1/Ingress
98 NAME                    AGE
99 production-auto-deploy  3s
100 NOTES:
101 Application should be accessible at:
102 Waiting for deployment "production" rollout to finish: 0 of 1 updated replicas are available...
Pulling docker image gitlab/gitlab-runner-helper:x86_64-ec299e72 ...

According to another ticket CI/CD with Kubernetes 1.16: Production job fails, possibly due to Kubernetes version? , the current Kubernetes version in auto-deploy-image uses Kubernetes 1.13.12.

Is there any way to modify standard .gitlab-ci.yml and use a higher version of Kubernetes in the CICD pineline?

Also what are the steps in changing or overriding the default CICD templates?

good one