Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia’s Harry Bates and John McCarthy have dominated the opening heat of the Subaru Rally Tasmania, winning all 11 stages further establishing their Championship credentials.
Bates started with a narrow win in the Inveresk Super Special Stage last night and never looked back – claiming all 10 of the forest stages on Saturday to take heat one in superb fashion.
Subaru do Motorsport’s Molly Taylor and Malcolm Read weren’t far behind and will no doubt be pleased to be only 95 seconds adrift of Bates and McCarthy.
The Toyota/Subaru rivalry which has been such a large part of Australian rallying over many years is certainly continuing in earnest. Sitting third behind Taylor was Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin in the second factory backed Toyota Yaris AP4 entry. Bates and McLoughlin were just under three minutes behind their teammates at the end of the heat.
It was a standout morning for Timothy Auty and Jon Mitchell in the Mazda 323 GTR. The Dunlop Motul CAMS Tasmanian Rally Championship competitors finishing just under six minutes behind Bates – and ended the day in fourth of all ARC runners.
AGI Sport’s Luke Anear and Steve Glenney ended the heat in fifth in the new Ford Fiesta R5. It’s been a tough initiation for Anear in the WRC2 spec car, but finishing this event and keeping the car straight will do no harm to his overall Championship position.
Rounding out the top six was Truck Wholesale WA’s John O’Dowd and Toni Feaver in the 2018 Championship winning Skoda Fabia R5.
Richie Dalton and Dale Moscatt had a close battle with Lewis Bates all day, but were unable to finish the 10th stage of the heat ending their day in cruel circumstances. The Shamrock Motorsport crew now hope to re-join the event tomorrow morning to earn some valuable Championship points.
It was a mixed return to action for Simon Evans in the Les Walkden Rallying entry – a broken gearbox prior to the midday service ultimately cost them a chance at a top five finish – however, they quickly fixed the issue and were competitive all afternoon and both Evans and co-driver Bernie Webb will be ones to watch closely on Sunday.
Other casualties included the Right Price Auto Repairs Ford Falcon XR6 of Kevin Raedel and Amanda Ramia – with a fire breaking out in the rear of their car on the heat’s second stage. Both crew were ok and the crew were hopeful of being back in action on Sunday.
Provisional Standings Heat One: