Bates leads Rally Launceston at end of Day 1

Reigning Champions Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin drive the #1 Toyota in 2023

Reigning Champions Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin drive the #1 Toyota in 2023

Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin have won the opening heat and lead the Buckby Skoda Rally Launceston after the first six stages in Tasmania.

The reigning Bosch Motorsport Australian Rally Champions won two of those six stages, including the first of the event.

In the other factory Toyota, fellow front-runners Harry Bates and Coral Taylor retired early on.

Their GR Yaris AP4 was unable to start Stage 2 due to a crack in their exhaust manifold, the same issue from last year’s Adelaide Hills Rally that retired the older Bates brother.

Tasmania local Bodie Reading and Michael Young claimed their first career ARC stage win in Stage 2.

Stage 3 ended with Eddie Maguire and Adam Kudra on top whilst Aiden Peterson and co-driver Mitch Newton had a big shunt off into the trees. Both walked away unharmed.

Stage 4 saw Bates and McLoughlin win again, ahead of the pack by two seconds.

Stage 5 went to Nathan Quinn and Ray Winwood-Smith by over a second over Bates and the final stage win of the day went to Luke Anear and Malcolm Read who also picked up their first ever stage win around Launceston.

He also edged out Bates by only a tenth of a second at the ending of the first six stages.

The final stage also saw the team of Jamie and Bradley Luff out due to tyre problems.

The overall top five going into Sunday is Bates, Reading, Anear, McGuire and Alex Rullo, with Stages 7 to 12 to come tomorrow.

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