Harry Bates and John McCarthy have produced the perfect start to the 2021 Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland, winning all three of the event’s first stages.
The duo have been in fine form during the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship’s (ARC) second round so far, arriving to the first Flexi Service with a handy 30 second lead over Nathan Quinn and Ray-Winwood Smith. Rounding out the top three was Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia teammates Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin after the duo had a difficult opening stage.
The lead car’s big moment came in SS2, where they produced a 19 second stage win over Lewis and McLoughlin while Quinn and Winwood-Smith were a further second off.
“Very challenging (event) as we predicted,” Bates said.
“It was just really tough and the roads are very technical and hard on the car but we faced the challenge and came out with three stage wins from three.
“This is new event, also with very challenging roads, the main difference here is how narrow there are. Every corner has some sort of a character to it and we have notes for all them.
“The car was working really well this morning so we’re not going to change the setup at all. We’ll make sure it’s all and keep our noses clean. There are a couple of areas where I should be able to find some time.”
While Bates and McCarthy are quite ahead of the next car, the battle for second looks to be a close affair for the rest of the weekend with three cars in the mix.
A strong second and third stage saw Quinn steer his Midstate Freight Evo 10 to two top threes and second place outright, while Lewis Bates and McLoughlin’s second stage is what has kept in the hunt and five seconds off the second placed car.
In fourth place and just a further five seconds behind Bates and McLoughlin is Arron Windus and Daniel Brkic after the duo had an impressive first and third stage – their best being the opener. As a result of their bright starts,
Quinn and Windus occupy the top two spots in the White Wolf Constructions ARC Production Cup, while the outright fifth placed Clayton Hoy and Erin Kelly round out Cup’s top three.
Further down the order, Ryan Williams and Brad Jones have jumped to an early lead in both the Shamrock Haulage ARC 2WD Cup and ARC Junior Cup, as well as brilliant 14th placed outright.
Three more stages remain in Saturday.
Top 10 after 3 stages
1. Harry Bates/John McCarthy
2. Nathan Quinn/Ray Winwood-Smith
3. Lewis Bates/Anthony McLoughlin
4. Arron Windus/Daniel Brkic
5. Clayton Hoy/Erin Kelly
6. Molly Taylor/Malcolm Read
7. Luke Anear/Andy Sarandis
8. Richie Dalton/Dale Moscatt
9. Troy Dowel/Bernie Webb
10. Marcus Walkem/John Allen
Photo: CH Images