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Bates brothers top Australian Rally Championship opener

Mat Coch

Sunday 7th April, 2019 - 7:20pm

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Harry Bates and John McCarthy pic: Tim Allott

Bates brothers Harry and Lewis have topped the opening round of the Australian Rally Championship at the Forest Rally in Western Australia.

Harry Bates and co-driver John McCarthy led the Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia one-two, with team-mates Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin second.

“Fourth event here in WA and finally a win so I’m obviously stoked with that, it was a clean weekend which is great and the new Yaris ran faultlessly it was really fast from the get go,” Harry Bates said.

“There is a perpetual trophy here so I get to be on the same trophy as dad which is very cool but he’s won here six times – more times than anyone else – so I’ve got a few more to go to catch him and we’ll aim to do that the next year and the year after and so on but it’s an awesome feeling to have won a rally that dad’s had so much success at in the past.”

For Lewis Bates, it was the first time the 22-year-old had stood on the podium in the national series, taking two further stage wins across the day to make a total of four for the rally.

“We didn’t really have many expectations coming into the weekend, we were coming in still learning the car and taking it stage by stage so we didn’t expect to be on the podium let alone have four stage wins so we are over the moon,” Lewis Bates said.

Rounding out the podium was Darren Windus and Daniel Brick after a charge through Sunday saw the Subaru-shod pair climb up the order.

They benefited when Tom Wilde and Madelin Kirkhouse struck late drama, firstly with a puncture and then struggling through the final stage with a turbo problem.

Tied on points with Windus/Brick, their slower overall time saw them classified fourth.

Problems also befell Molly Taylor and Malcolm Read with engine issues confining them to fifth overall.

The CAMS Australian Rally Championship now heads to Canberra for the Netier National Capital Rally on May 11.

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