The opening round of the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) is fast approaching with the Netier National Capital Rally once again the season opener.
Ahead of the 2022 Netier National Capital Rally, rally.com.au rewinds the clock to look at what took place in the nation’s capital last year.
With the stage set for the new season, 30 crews were entered in the event and all hoped for a strong start to their 2021 campaigns, however it was Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia’s Harry Bates and John McCarthy who proved too strong right from the get-go.
The duo enjoyed a four second opening stage win over Ford Fiesta R5 driver Luke Anear and co-driver Andy Sarandis before a big 16-second win over Toyota teammates Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin in the next stage.
While Lewis pegged back the time in the third stage, falling just three and half seconds short of the leader, a clean run from Harry on the fourth stage saw the lead extended to almost 45 seconds.
That blew out to 57 seconds after a big fifth stage from Harry before issues with his car’s turbo booster allowed Lewis and McLoughlin to win the next two stages by two seconds each.
On the final stage of the day, Harry finished with a nine-second win over Lewis, extending the gap to more than a minute at the halfway mark.
“We’re completely stoked with the day. We didn’t come here expecting to have such a flawless day like we have so we stoked with not only our times, but with the progression we made throughout the day,” Bates said at the time.
“We had little niggles and dramas that we were always going to have with a new car, especially since we hadn’t done the testing we would have liked before this weekend, but I am so happy with the work the team have put in the car.
Just behind the two Bates brothers were Nathan Quinn and Ray Winwood-Smith in the Midstate Freight Mitsubishi-Evo 10, while Shamrock Haulage’s Richie Dalton and Dale Moscatt occupied fourth place not far behind.
A flawless day was backed up with an almost perfect clean sweep on the Sunday for Harry and McCarthy as they won all but one stage on the day.
Harry and McCarthy were on a roll in the day’s first stage, winning it by five seconds.
The leading duo got even better over the next few stages, with a seven-second win on SS10 followed by a nine second win on the event’s 11th stage.
A massive performance on SS12 saw Harry and McCarthy post a time 20 seconds faster than the next best car in Quinn, which effectively sealed the victory.
Some late electrical dramas on the penultimate stage saw Harry drop almost a minute to Lewis and create some hope for the latter of winning his first-ever ARC event.
However Harry and McCarthy ended up winning the final stage by one second, starting their 2021 season with the round win.
“It was a great weekend for not only me but for the whole team,” Harry said post-Heat 2.
“We were hoping for the best when we rolled out two new cars, but you always have the fear when things could go wrong. Fortunately, they (electronic issues) were only minor and we are here as the winners.”
A big fifth stage from Lewis saw him lock in second place and a Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia one-two, while a DNF to Dalton midway through the heat saw Quinn finish third.
Quinn and Winwood-Smith’s third place over Arron Windus and Daniel Brkic also saw them finish the weekend on top of the White Wolf Constructions ARC Production Cup, while Ryan Williams and Brad Jones won the Shamrock Haulage ARC 2WD Cup.