The first title of the 2023 Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) season has been declared with Toyota crowned as the Manufacturers’ Champions.
The manufacturer has been dominant across all five completed rounds this season with outright victories in four events, including the weekend’s PowerPlay Adelaide Hills Rally, won by Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin.
The win was the reigning champions’ second of the year, following their victory at the Buckby ŠKODA Rally Launceston, while Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia teammates Harry Bates and Coral Taylor finished second.
Harry and Taylor have also enjoyed two victories of their own this season, having taken out both Heats of the Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland and The Middle of Everywhere Gippsland Rally.
As a result of both Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia entries’ strong seasons, Toyota has now scored an unassailable points total of 171 points, 55 points more than the next-best manufacturer in Skoda.
In addition to the Manufacturers’ Championship, both Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia entries are in the hunt for the Drivers’ title, with Lewis enjoying a 23-point buffer over Harry ahead of next month’s Subaru Canberra Rally of Canberra.
Toyota Australia Chief Marketing Officer Vin Naidoo was proud of both crews, as well as the whole of Neal Bates Motorsport, for what has been a strong season for all.
“We were always confident that the GR Yaris AP4 was a championship-winning car and much of that credit goes to Neal Bates and his team for taking what was a superb platform to start with, and building it into an outstanding race car,” Naidoo said.
“I’d like to thank and congratulate the whole team – and especially Lewis, Harry, Anthony and Coral – on delivering winning results, round after round, that has enabled us to win the 2023 ARC Manufacturers’ Championship.
“And just like last year, I’m looking forward to a final thrilling battle between the two drivers and co-drivers next month in Canberra to see who takes the flag in the driver’s and co-drivers’ championship.”
While the Manufacturers title has been confirmed, the minor podium places are yet to be decided with Skoda holding a 29-point lead over Hyundai.
Subaru currently sits in fourth place and 20 points behind Hyundai but 11 points ahead of the fifth-placed Ford, while Mitsubishi rounds off the leaderboard.
The final round of the 2023 season will be the Subaru Canberra Rally of Canberra on 17-19 November.
Manufacturers’ Standings (after five rounds)
1. Toyota – 171 points
2. Skoda – 116
3. Hyundai – 87
4. Subaru – 67
5. Ford – 56
6. Mitsubishi – 41