Bates leads Coffs Coast thriller after day one

After what was a thrilling start to the Supercheap Auto Coffs Coast Rally, Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia’s Harry Bates and John McCarthy lead the field at the end of the opening day.

Leading both the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship and the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship, Bates and McCarthy ended the first day behind Hayden Paddon and John Kennard by just two and half seconds.

Finishing the day in third overall and second in the ARC by just six seconds was Nathan Quinn and David Green, however were also extremely impressive over the course of the day.

However there was some drama late at the end of the day as Paddon was handed a 30-second penalty, which saw him drop to third behind Bates and Quinn.

Photos: Zed Photography

With seven stages run, all three crews came away with stage wins as each driver enjoyed dominant spells.

Paddon started off strongest with two consecutive stage wins, before Quinn claimed the next two stage wins – putting him ahead of Bates by one and half seconds after SS5.

The reigning ARC champion then began his dominant spell with consecutive wins in the highly entertaining Super Special Stages at Raleigh Raceway before picking up his third consecutive win on the final stage of the day.

In fourth place overall and third in the ARC are current ARC leaders Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin, while fellow title contenders Richie Dalton and Dale Moscatt rounded out the top five.

In the ARC Cups, the sixth placed Taylor Gill and Daniel Brkic sit just three seconds ahead of Jamie Luff and Bradley Luff in the White Wolf Constructions ARC Production Cup.

Dean Ridge and Phillip Bonser comfortably lead the Shamrock Haulage ARC 2WD Cup over rookie Josh Wiedman and Nicholas Tied, who also lead the Glendun ARC Junior Cup.

Ian Griffin and Liam Bainton sit on top of the ARC Classic Cup after edging out David Thompson and Matthew Sanders on the final stage.

Click here to view the full results.

The action resumes tomorrow with six more stages.