The CAMS Australian Rally Championships reaches its midway point this weekend with the Subaru Rally Tasmania to host another epic rally battle.
With thousands of Tasmanians expected to make the most of the free event across Launceston over the course of the weekend, competitors will be in for a treat.
After the Netier National Capital Rally held the slick new one day program, the championship returns to the familiar, busy weekend schedule with the free Super Special Stage in Inveresk to kick things off on Friday night.
On Saturday, crews will take on more than 124 competitive kilometres across 10 stages with the first car due to start the Mount Barrow stage at 8:20am, while the day’s last stage will be the second run of Lisle around 3:40pm.
Sunday’s action will see the crews tackle around 97 competitive kilometres on six stages with the event’s biggest stage, the 24km Lone Star Ridge, to wrap up proceedings on its second run for the day.
Subaru Rally Tasmania will welcome 29 entries for the event with 12 crews to do battle in the ARC.
Headlined by current ARC leaders, Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia’s Harry Bates and John McCarthy, the Yaris AP4 pilots will be looking to continue their perfect start to the season with a third consecutive victory.
Bates’ biggest challengers will come in the form of Subaru Do Motorsport’s Molly Taylor and Malcolm Read, while Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia teammate Lewis Bates will be hoping to bounce back from a disappointing round in Canberra alongside co-driver Anthony McLoughlin.
This weekend will see an exciting number of R5 vehicles go head-to-head, with three crews to bring out the WRC2 spec cars. AGI Sport’s Luke Anear and Steve Glenney in the Ford Fiesta R5, John O’Dowd and Toni Feaver in the Truck Wholesale WA PTY LTD prepared Skoda Fabia R5 and the returning Walkem brothers to be behind the wheel of the BE Power Hyundai i20.
The Subaru Rally Tasmania will also welcome new faces and old stars with four-time ARC championship Simon Evans making his first appearance since 2016 alongside Bernie Webb in the Les Walkden Rallying Subaru WRX, while Carver Mechanical Bridgestone Huonville’s Bodie Reading will be making his ARC debut in a Subaru WRX with Mark Young as his co-driver.
Last Time They Met
There was a lot to celebrate in 2018 with the first Tasmanian ARC round in more than 10 years, but it was Victorian Eli Evans and Ben Searcy who finished on top.
In what would be the decisive result in the outright championship, Evans and Searcy steered their Skoda Fabia R5 to victory, completing a hatrick of ARC wins in the process and building a solid gap ahead of the final two rounds.
It was a tie for second outright, as two heat third places was enough for Adrian Coppin and Feaver to secure a runner-up finishing alongside Taylor and Read after the latter finished in fourth place in the second heat.
The local boys and Super Special Stage winners Steve Glenney and Andy Sarandis ended the event off the podium despite winning the second heat, as a failed first heat ruined their chances at victory.