It may only be September, but thanks to a strong start to their Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) season, Ben and Cathy Hayes have now officially been crowned ARC 2WD Cup Champions-elect.
A clean sweep of round wins has the power duo clear of second place Josh Wiedman and Nick Ried in both the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ Championships respectively, and with only four of the best six rounds counting, they cannot be surpassed.
“We are relieved, going into Adelaide and Canberra we can just enjoy it, not be chasing points and have a good rally,” Ben said.
“We are very happy, we didn’t know what to expect (with the new car) and the competition wasn’t our usual Victorian one, so we didnt know where we would stand.
“We were going in blind, but it worked out well.”
Their first taste of success came with a convincing victory at Buckby ŠKODA Rally Launceston back in March, before backing up their efforts the following round in Western Australia where they took top honours at the Make Smoking History Forest Rally.
With two round wins already in the books, a 10 second victory over Wiedman and Reid at Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland then further cemented their Cup aspirations – knowing all they had to do was take one more victory to seal the first silverware of 2023.
The win was secured at last month’s The Middle of Everywhere Gippsland Rally, with yet another dominant performance in their Subaru BRZ – this time 26 seconds ahead of Nicholas Seymour and Matthew Whitten, securing the season trophy.
While the ARC 2WD Cup is already wrapped up, both Ben and Cathy still have plenty to play for in both the White Wolf Constructions Production Cup and outright standings – with the pair committing to a full season.
Currently sitting 12th in the outright standings, Ben is only 47 points away from an elusive top 10 finish while also sitting in fourth in the White Wolf Constructions Production Cup.
As for Cathy, only eight points separate her and James Marquet in 10th for the co-drivers outright standings while she remains in contention for a top three finish in White Wolf Constructions Production Cup for co-drivers.
The next round of the Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship will be the PowerPlay Adelaide Hills Rally on 13-15 October.