Local favourite Harry Bates holds a slender lead over a charging Molly Taylor in an action packed morning of the one-day Netier National Capital Rally.
Toyota Gazoo Racing Austraila’s Bates and John McCarthy were quickest in three of the four stages, with Subaru do Motorsport’s Taylor and Malcolm Read taking the honours in heat one’s final stage (SS4) and sit only 12 seconds behind the Yaris AP4 halfway through the rally.
After mechanical gremlins dashed podium hopes for the Subaru WRX STi in the opening round, the factory backed Subaru team look to have found their groove on the technical stages in Canberra and will be on a mission this afternoon.
Sitting third after a stellar start to the day are Repco Rally Team’s Mick Patton and Bernie Webb in their first ARC event in recent years, while Bates and McCarthy’s teammates Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin are currently sitting fourth.
Snickers Racing’s Luke Anear and Steve Glenney ended heat one in fifth, while it’s been a consistent first heat for Abode Hotel’s Adrian Coppin and debutant co-driver Kate Peck, with their Mitsubishi Evo sitting in sixth.
State regulars Tom Clarke and Ryan Preston performed admirably through the morning, now in seventh – about seven minutes behind the leaders.
It’s been a tough morning for the competitors, with several forced to return to the Nutanix Service Park early, including Western Victorian Crane Trucks’ Darren Windus and Daniel Brick. The duo losing their brakes early in the opening stage. The team are hopeful of a return to action in the afternoon.
Shamrock Motorsport’s Richie Dalton and Dale Moscatt were also forced to end their morning early – a crank sensor failure seeing them parked up and dashing hopes of a podium finish at their second event for 2019.
Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Lewis Bates encountered an off during SS4, losing more than a minute after a solid start within the top four throughout the morning’s earlier stages.
The afternoon’s action continues shortly, with four stages to determine the winner of the new-look one-day Netier National Capital Rally. The podium celebrations due to take place at 4.30pm (AEST).