Who will win Rally Queensland?

The 2024 Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship will reach the half-way mark of the season at the Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland. Now armed with some more data and trends from this season, our series of ARC experts look to pick the winners come Sunday in Gympie.


Winner: Scott Pedder
They’re showing speed, as we knew they would, but one of the real keys to success at Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland is reliability. We have seen that the Skoda Fabia Rally2 is capable of withstanding these unique and often treacherous roads. But the brand new GR Yaris Rally2 cars of the Neal Bates Motorsport crews? We’ll find out…

Runner Up: Eddie Maguire
I seem to be favouring the Skodas, but it’s hard not to think these guys will do well here. This time last year, they finished runner-up outright in their very first event in the Fabia. It was testament to how respectfully they approached the roads, while also facing a massive learning curve in a car where everything happens so much faster than they were used to.

Podium: Harry Bates
It’s only the reliability of the Rally2 Yaris that I’m questioning. Had Canberra run the full distance, we would have a better idea of how these cars fare on the really rough Australian roads. I’ve put Harry and Coral in P3 though because their speed, and the team’s professionalism, can overcome mechanical issues – as we saw in WA.

Power Stage: Harry Bates
The scene I’m envisaging involves mechanical woes for the Rally2 Toyotas, but Harry and Coral coming through to blitz the field in the final stage of the rally. Hollywood material!

Dark Horse: Clayton Hoy
Clayton is quick and it’s always thoroughly enjoyable catching up with him after a good day of rallying. He and Andrew have my vote for the dark horse of the MainFix Production Cup.

Surprise Packet: Ryan Williams
It’s great to have these Queensland locals in the ARC this weekend. They know the roads well and, provided they have an issue-free run, could deliver a strong result.

Production Cup: Bodie Reading
The MainFix Production Cup battle is looking spicy this weekend! It’s fantastic to see Bodie and Mark Young back in the ARC after they blew us all away with their 2023 campaign. I’m keen to see if they can back up last year’s excellent result here.

Clayton Hoy’s last appearance at Rally Queensland in 2021

Winner: Harry Bates
Undefeated on the roads around Gympie, how can you look past him? Maybe it’s a boring prediction, but Harry has made it pretty known how much he loves the roads around Queensland. So it should come as no surprise to see him on the top step come Sunday afternoon.

Runner Up: Scott Pedder
Scott showed in WA that he’s got the pace to take it to Harry, it seems he just needs some luck to go his way. However, I think it’ll be a tough ask to match the GR Yaris Rally2 in Queensland.

Podium: Eddie Maguire
I think last year’s experience, and subsequent podium, in Queensland should give Eddie confidence on his return to Gympie. It’s clear to see that his pace has stepped up since that rally last year, so I think he’s a strong contender for a podium position.

Power Stage: Harry Bates
Undefeated in the Queensland Power Stage since its inception in 2021, I think it’ll be no surprise to see him top of the time sheets again.

Dark Horse: Steve Maguire
Now with a few rallies under his belt in the Skoda Rally2, I think we can expect to see Steve pushing his way further up the time sheets this weekend.

Surprise Packet: Ryan Smart
Although he’s in an older classic car, there’s no doubting Smarty’s ability behind the wheel, and I think he could take a few of the more modern 4WD cars by surprise.

Production Cup: Clayton Hoy
Is it a risk to bet against Molly? Maybe, but I think give Clayton a few stages to come back up to speed and, providing his car holds together, I think there’s no reason why he can’t take it to Molly.

Rally Queensland will be Steve Maguire’s third ARC aboard the Skoda Fabia

Winner: Lewis Bates
Lewis might have this one. He wasn’t far off last year. He has a rally under his belt in this new Toyota Rally2, so it couldn’t come at a better time. Here’s hoping he’s had enough beauty sleep in the lead up to this rally.

Runner Up: Harry Bates
Harry has control of the championship, so I’d say he will control his pace and no doubt be a good big brother and slot in second place.

Podium: Eddie Maguire
Eddie Mag had a good run here last year, so I’m confident he can repeat that knowing what to expect a second-time around. To be fair, he really is a podium loiterer. Every event he waits to take advantage of a vulnerable pace setter.

Power Stage: Harry Bates
He has won this stage twice at this event. He is the ultimate Gold Digger!

Dark Horse: Scott Pedder
Scott Pedder’s had many glimpses of speed, but just short of stringing a full weekend together. Maybe it’s time. I do believe he had some testing earlier this week on roads that tame some of the wildest beasts, which perhaps could be his secret weapon. It will be interesting to see how he fairs with many of the stages familiar to other crews, but not to him.

Surprise Packet: Clayton Hoy
Look out for Clayton Hoy. Rally Queensland in 2021, he placed second on the Power Stage among many other good stage times – all with probably less rallies under his belt than fingers on your hands. With a relative lack of experience he is a fiend, perhaps it’s just built up rage from lugging his business product around… albeit bananas! Expect him easily in the top five should his trusty steed serve him well.

Production Cup: Clayton Hoy
Again, I’m backing Clayton. I think Production Cup this weekend with Clayton, Molly Taylor, Bodie Reading and Ryan Williams could provide the most interesting competition. It will be great to watch it unfold. Buckle up!

Harry Bates & John McCarthy were the inaugural winners of Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland in 2021

Winner: Harry Bates
Two outright wins from the two contested. They were unbeaten in the limited Canberra event, and did have issues in West Australia which they still were able to come out on top.

Runner Up: Lewis Bates
Second at Round 1 and fifth at the second. The 2022 champs now will be on equal terms with the Toyota GAZOO Racing Australia teammates with their very own Toyota Yaris Rally2. Lewis may need a rally or two in the new car to match or even better his brother.

Podium: Scott Pedder
They were a heat winner in the Forest Rally and finished the event equal third. No reason why they can’t do it again, or even go better.

Power Stage: Lewis Bates
Should have a handle on the new car by the final stage and will be quick.

Dark Horse: Luke Anear
It may be their first ARC outing of the year, but the former Ford Fiesta R5 crew will have a proven winner in the Toyota GR Yaris AP4 that Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin took the 2022 championship in and the runner up position last year.

Surprise Packet: Jamie Luff
Equipped with Toyota machinery puts them in a strong position. The brothers overcame the difficulties of Round 1 in Canberra to finish eighth at the second round.

Production Cup: Molly Taylor
Had to come behind to win in WA after second in Heat 1 and seat time for Molly in New Zealand last weekend, will be finely tuned and ready to go.

Jamie Luff finally enjoyed a trouble-free run last time out in WA

Winner: Harry Bates
On form, it’s hard to bet away from Harry to win another round. So far this year, he and the car have been impressive.

I don’t think he’ll win every stage, however Western Australia showed that he doesn’t have to do that to win the event. Plus, out of the front runners, you can argue that he has the most current Queensland ARC experience.

Runner Up: Scott Pedder
I nearly placed SP as the round winner! For two reasons; one – he’s really the only person this year that has been able to match and beat Harry on the stages; and two – this round will be very important for Scott to outscore Harry, and the rest of the field, if he is genuinely going to fight for the title.

Basically I’m being soft and political for placing him second!

Podium: Alex Rullo
Showing some real maturity this year, and getting faster and faster without mistakes. If he can keep that theme up, he will battle the likes of Lewis, Eddie, and co for the podium places.

Power Stage: Lewis Bates 
He has shown that he is one of the few that can take the one stage battle up to Harry, and after an event to get more used to new car, I think that positions him well for a push in the Galvaniize Insurance Power Stage.

Dark Horse: Eddie Maguire 
Despite a difficult start to the season, if Eddie can be at one with the Skoda early in the event, you can never discount him for a top result.

Surprise Packets: Luke Anear & Clayton Hoy
Great to have Luke making an appearance in the ARC again. I think he could surprise a few people, including himself, being behind the wheel of a very sorted AP4 car.

Another to watch will be Clayton Hoy. He’s very fast and talented, and it’s been sometime since we have seen him on the ARC stages.

Production Cup: Molly Taylor
Molly showed real grit and determination in WA managing many issues, and fighting hard just to finish. Her Subaru is a great MainFix Production Cup Car, and with a former champion at the wheel – she will always be favourite. However, you have Clayton Hoy and Ryan Williams who will no doubt keep her honest.

Molly Taylor faces strong competition for this weekend’s MainFix Production Cup