Midday update – Bates charging but Evans on top

Tankformers’ Eli Evans and Ben Searcy hold a 26-second lead heading into this afternoon’s final three stages at the Netier National Capital Rally.

Despite losing 40 seconds when they stopped to clear the screen of their fogged-up Skoda Fabia R5, the current Championship leaders remain on top.

Evans ran into trouble on the first stage of the day, SS10 Sherwood II, which was won by the hard-charging Harry Bates and John McCarthy in the Toyota Yaris AP4.

Out to claw back time after yesterday’s mechanical issues, Bates was fastest on two of this morning’s three stages, just 0.2 seconds quicker than rival Evans on SS12 Tidbinbilla I. Bates sits in fifth outright, more than nine minutes off the lead.

Contel Communications’ Steve Glenney and Andy Sarandis continued their strong run in the Subaru WRX STi, sitting in second place, and Yes! Optus’ Adrian Coppin and Glen Weston are holding steady in third.

Kosciusko Automotive Rally Team’s Andrew Penney and Rhys Llewellyn broke a drive shaft on today’s second stage – they are currently assessing their options for the rest of the event.

In ARC 2WD, Adam Kaplan and Aleshia Penny continue to lead the class, ahead of Haowen Chu and Pete Hellwig.

Round three of the Netier National Capital Rally continues this afternoon with three special stages to run, before a podium finish at the Pialligo Estate Service Park at 4pm.