Harry Bates and Coral Taylor have claimed back-to-back Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) round victories after taking out The Middle of Everywhere Gippsland Rally.
The Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia duo produced another impressive performance on Sunday, leaving Gippsland with an overall win of one minute and 17 seconds over championship leaders, Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin.
Making up the final place on the event podium, a further minute and a half off Lewis and McLoughlin, were Eddie Maguire and Zak Brakey after the Tasmanians held on for their second consecutive ARC podium following a thrilling battle with Luke Anear and Malcolm Read – the final buffer between the two just 18 seconds.
In what was a mighty Sunday recovery run, Nathan Quinn and Ray Winwood-Smith overcame a broken rear diff on Saturday to win three stages today and charge back up the field to round out the top five, as well as finish third in the EROAD Power Stage.
It ended up being a comfortable top five finish for Quinn and Winwood-Smith who finished almost one and half minutes ahead of Jamie and Brad Luff, who had been occupying fifth up until the penultimate stage of the weekend.
With the Victorian round serving as the season’s first endurance round, where a winner is declared based on the combined Saturday and Sunday legs of the rally, Harry and Taylor entered today’s eight stages with a lead of one minute over their Toyota teammates Lewis and McLoughlin.
And while they were unable to replicate Saturday’s dominant day of seven stage wins, they still picked up two stages wins of their own, including maximum points in the EROAD Power Stage win, and did more than enough to secure their second round win of the season, becoming the first crew to do so this year.
“It was a strong weekend for us. The EROAD Power Stage was hard work, but we managed to come out on top on that as well, so we are super happy with the weekend,” Harry said.
“A big thanks to our whole team as they’ve been working so hard – to have both cars first and second in the event is incredible.
“That really is a testament to them. It was a tough event – clearly lots of cars either had a DNF or ended up with problems by the EROAD Power Stage, whereas both of our cars were still strong right up until the end.
“I’m over the moon. I enjoyed the whole weekend and I think the weather turned out well considering what it could have been like with the forecast, which made for a really great event, so we’ve had a blast.
“It’s all going well at the moment. It’s documented that we had a tough start to the year, and it left us with some work to do, but we’re definitely going well at the moment.
“Coral and I are very focused on rally by rally at the moment, and I think that’s paying off. But I think we’re the first ones to win two rallies this year, so that’s nice.”
Harry and Taylor weren’t the only crew to walk away with an impressive victory, with Bodie Reading and Mark Young securing the White Wolf Constructions ARC Production Cup victory, along with an outright placing of seventh.
Although the Tasmanians ended up coming away with an emphatic six-minute White Wolf Constructions ARC Production Cup victory, they just managed to edge out SS9 winners, Troy Dowel and Bernie Webb, for outright seventh place – their three seconds advantage being the closest gap across the whole field.
James Dimmock made a solid return to the ARC, having not competed since March’s Buckby SKODA Rally Launceston, to finish ninth overall alongside Larisa Biggar, while White Wolf Constructions ARC Production Cup runner-up Daniel Traverso and co-driver Anthony Carr rounded out the top 10.
In the other classes, Ben and Cathy Hayes comfortably took out the ARC 2WD Cup for the fourth consecutive round this year, beating Nicholas Seymour and Matthew Whitten by 26 seconds, while Josh Wiedman and Nick Reid rounded out the class podium, with the latter also winning the Shamrock Haulage ARC Junior Cup.
The ARC Classic Cup had just one finisher for the round, with David Thompson and Matthew Sanders taking out round honours and extending their lead in the class.
The Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship now moves to South Australia for the Powerplay Adelaide Hills Rally on 13-15 October.