Australia’s best rally drivers will congregate in South Australia this weekend for the CAMS Australian Rally Championship’s (ARC) fifth round of the season – the Adelaide Hills Rally.
Taking place in the Adelaide Hills region, more than 45 crews will battle it out across the weekend with two days of high octane action in some beautiful locations.
Ahead of the second last round for 2019, cams.com.au previews some of the key details for the South Australian leg of the championship.
When looking for a winner to pick for the weekend, it’s hard to go past Toyota Racing Gazoo’s Harry Bates and John McCarthy. The duo have been rock solid all year and headline the list of 28 ARC only crews.
Toyota teammates Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin, as well as Subaru do Motorsport’s Molly Taylor and Malcolm Read are some of the other big names in the championship expecting to make an impact this weekend.
While a number of regular ARC crews will be fighting for a top five finish, including Luke Anear and Andy Sarandis in the Ford Fiesta R5 and Skoda Fabia R5 pilots John O’Dowd and Toni Feaver, the local talent of entries are not just there to make up the numbers.
At the top of this tree is Zayne Admiraal and Matthew Heywood in their Subaru WRX – Admiraal shocking many when he finished the same event last year in outright fourth place.
With the CAMS South Australian Rally Championship also hosting its final round of the year, Admiraal will be under the pressure of fellow title contenders in Jamie Pohlner and Adam Bradford, as well as Aaron Bowering and Nathan Lowe.
The event’s will be contested over two days with the 28 crews to complete approximately 205 competitive kilometres over 18 special stages and two super special stages.
On Saturday, the action gets underway from 8am local time with crews to tackle 10 stages, including the two super special stages at The Bend Motorsport Park on Saturday night.
It’s a shorter day on Sunday despite having another 10 stages, with the first car due around 8:30am local time to the first stage, before competition wraps up around 4pm.
The Super Special Stage at The Bend is one to behold with cars doing some unique head-to-head racing on two 1.7km stages made up of tarmac and gravel track.
Outside of the ARC and SARC, the Adelaide Hills Rally will be also be hosting the SA Clubman and introductory rallies which will be held on Sunday, while the AHR Stadium Rallysprint will be contested solely on Saturday evening as part of the ARC super special stage.
There will be plenty of chances for rally fans to get close to the action throughout the whole weekend with multiple spectator points on each day.
Fans will have access to all but two stages on Saturday and seven stages on Sunday with most stages being run twice, once in reverse on each day.
On Saturday, the first car for spectators will be on the Clarendon 1 stage at 8:42am, with the last free chance for the day on the gravel stages being stage eight at 3:52pm.
Later that night, fans can make their way to the popular race track in Tailem Bend to watch the exciting race-like stages take place. Starting at $25 per ticket, fans can purchase their ticket at the gate or online here.
On Sunday, fans will have the opportunity to watch the cars go by from 8:40am with Mt Crawford the first stage for the day, while the last stage of the day is the highest speed spectator point with the cars coming hard and fast up the valley from 3:32pm onwards.
The ARC could officially be won this weekend and all current leaders Harry Bates and McCarthy need to do is finish well.
They currently hold a lead of more than 100 points over Lewis Bates and McLoughlin, while Taylor and Read are just two points behind the second placed Toyota.
At this point, anything is possible and mathematically, both Lewis Bates and Taylor have the chance to secure the title, but with just a maximum of 81 points available here and a further 100 points at Kennards Hire Rally Australia, they will likely need Harry Bates and McCarthy to suffer some form of misfortune and miss out on banking any points to have a chance to topple the in form duo at Rally Australia.
In the ARC2WD standings, Ethan Pickstock and Lisi Phillips will be looking to extend their lead at the event, meanwhile Luke Anear leads the way in the ARC2 in just his first full season.
The Adelaide Hills Rally takes place in South Australia on 20-22 September.