Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia’s Harry Bates and John McCarthy have put in an awe-inspiring performance to claim their third round win of the 2019 CAMS Australian Rally Championship.
It was a show of force from the Toyota Yaris AP4 crew, not putting a foot wrong and claiming all but one stage win across the weekend.
The pair now add the Subaru Rally Tasmania win to their Make Smoking History Forest Rally and Netier National Capital Rally triumphs so far in 2019 to cement themselves as the ones to beat in 2019 at the halfway point of the season.
"It was a very good weekend for us, very happy to be here and the car is all in one piece,” Bates said.
"It was tough. The conditions yesterday morning asked a lot of questions of us, it was very icy and created a lot of challenges.
"We dealt with that, got through and went out yesterday afternoon and put on a show.”
Co-driver McCarthy was delighted with the performance of the team.
"It's been a really good weekend - it more or less felt like getting up and going to work,” McCarthy said.
“It's great to be able to reward the team with a really good result.”
Subaru do Motorsport’s Molly Taylor and Malcolm Read claimed second overall and back-to-back podiums, despite damage to their car on Sunday morning and were the only ones to take a stage off Bates and McCarthy.
It took until the final stage of the event, but Taylor and Read edged out the Toyota by just 0.8s. The duo ultimately finished today’s heat in third, and combined with their second-place on Saturday, took second place ahead of the second Toyota of Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin. While the younger Bates and Taylor were tied on points, the Subaru’s stage win gave them second place on countback.
“We dropped a bunch of time in the morning. I don't know what we hit, but we hit something,” Taylor said.
"We decided to go for it (on the last stage) and it was just enough to claim second. It's a nice feeling now.
"It's great to be able to do this in our home event and having the support of Subaru, it's been fantastic."
For Lewis Bates and McLoughlin, the final step on the podium was theirs after a consistent weekend in the second Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia entry. The duo finished Sunday’s heat in second and looked quick all day, finishing about a minute behind older brother, Harry.
"We're over the moon, it was a tough event that started off with icy roads and I've never driven in those conditions before," Lewis said.
"Today we managed to get second (in heat two) and hold off Molly in the afternoon, so we're delighted.
"It's great to stand here on the podium with our teammates, Harry and John. A first and third for Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia, we're really happy."
Four-time ARC Champion Simon Evans had an impressive Sunday, but a penalty for use of an additional tyre more than allocated saw him drop to fourth for the heat once the two minute penalty was applied. The Les Walkden Rallying prepared Subaru was quick all weekend, Saturday’s gearbox woes overcome by Sunday in a strong cameo from the former Champion.
Rounding out the top five in Sunday’s heat was Bodie Reading and Mark Young. Their Carver Mechanical, Bridgestone Huonville Subaru WRX STi entry bouncing back from a horror Saturday to earn a good haul of ARC points and prove Reading is a local star on the rise.
In ARC2, AGI Sport’s Luke Anear and Steve Glenney took home first place after a promising start for the new Ford Fiesta R5.
Meanwhile, the ARC 2WD round win went to Right Price Auto Repairs’ Kevin Raedel and Amanda Ramia.
The duo battled through a car fire on Saturday to return to action on Sunday and claim Championship points in their Ford Falcon XR6.