Canberra to host epic title showdown

The Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) season reaches its final stop this weekend with the highly anticipated Subaru Canberra Rally of Canberra to wrap up the 2023 season.

While the event will welcome a strong field of more than 50 crews, all eyes will be on the thrilling title fight between Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia teammates Lewis and Harry Bates.

As it stands, Lewis and co-driver Anthony McLoughlin top the ARC standings with 444 points while Harry and Coral Taylor sit in second place just 23 points behind.

With Canberra being a home round for both Bates brothers, the finale is set up as a mouth-watering climax for what has been one of the biggest ARC seasons in recent times.

Twelve stages form part of the final round, however it could very well come down to the Sunday afternoon’s EROAD Power Stage bonus points – especially if Harry and Taylor lead the event to Lewis and McLoughlin.

View the multiple permutations of the Bates v Bates title fight.

Photo: Oz Sport Photos

Heading into the final round, the reigning ARC champion was looking forward to the challenge and the potential of winning a second title in his home state.

“We are excited for the Rally of Canberra. It’s a massive weekend for the Championship and I am really looking forward the weekend,” Lewis said.

“Anthony and I have worked really hard this year to produce a good season and to top it off with the championship title in my home state in front of my family would be incredible.

“In a perfect world, we would like to be leading the event heading into the EROAD Power Stage, but the fact that this championship could get decided at the Power Stage is a crazy, yet exciting thought.

“It’s remarkable to think we are in a similar situation to last year, only less points separate the two crews this time around, so at this point, anything can happen.”

View the Supplementary Regulations for the weekend’s itinerary.

Of course, the outright honours won’t be the only title up for grabs this weekend, with the White Wolf Constructions ARC Production Cup also going down to the wire between two drivers of the same state.

Tasmanians Bodie Reading and Steve Maguire have enjoyed a season-long duel in 2023, with the former in the box seat to take out top honours.

Unlike the ARC title though, the Production Cup battle is a lot more straightforward due to drop rounds, with Maguire needing to win the class in order to claim the title.

Even if he does manage to win the round, he is still reliant on where his fellow statesman finishes, with a second or third place for Reading still good enough for the title.

Taylor Gill during the 2022 Subaru Canberra Rally of Canberra. Photos: Epic Sport Photography

Adding to the drama will be the other crews entered in the Cup, with the likes of PowerPlay Adelaide Hills Winners Molly Taylor and Andy Sarandis, the returning Taylor Gill and Daniel Brkic, NSW title contenders Timothy Wilkins and Jim Gleeson, and Chris Higgs and Steve Fisher all capable of winning the event.

Just like the Production Cup, the outright title fight has a number of crews who could impact the final result, including notable returnee Richie Dalton, who has once again acquired the services of Dale Moscatt.

Of course, Eddie Maguire and Zak Brakey in their Skoda Fabia R5 and the ever-improving Luke Anear and Malcolm Read are two crews very likely to be in the hunt for stage wins this weekend and could prove the difference in the title fight.

View the full Rally of Canberra entry list.

Both Saturday and Sunday will have six stages each, totalling to 181 competitive kilometres across the two days, with multiple spectator points available on each day.

There will be four stages fans can watch on Saturday, while Sunday’s action will have five stages open to fans, including the EROAD Power stage where the 2023 champion will be crowned and the podium presentation will take place.

View the Spectator Guide.

Fans unable to make it to Canberra will still be able to follow along all weekend via the Live Wall on or the Subaru Results Hub.

The highly anticipated EROAD Power Stage will also be broadcast live and free on 7plus, with fans able to watch from the comfort of their own home at 2:30pm on Sunday.

The final round of the Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship will be the Subaru Canberra Rally of Canberra in the nation’s capital on 18-19 November.