Harry Bates and Coral Taylor are the 2023 Bosch Motorsport Australian Rally Champions after a thrilling finale in the Subaru Canberra Rally of Canberra.
They needed to win both the rally outright and EROAD Power Stage for the extra 10 points to take out the championship. They did both to defeat their Toyota GAZOO Racing Australia teammates Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin by 6.0s.
The two Toyota GR Yaris crews fought all the way through the 12 stages. After Lewis led by 3.0s after Day 1, Harry won the first stage on Day 2. Lewis hit back to take Stages 8 and 11 while Harry won Stage 9 and 10.
With the critical Power Stage to go, Harry led Lewis by 3.9s. They would be the last two of the top 10 to do it. Over the 6kms Harry ran 3:47.7 before Lewis went last and was just 2.1s slower.
In the final points there was just one the difference. Harry collected his second championship after victory in 2019, and navigator Taylor her fifth after four alongside Harry and Lewis' father Neal Bates.
“There is a lot of relief right now and I'm just so happy that we're able to do the job today,” Harry said.
“It didn't all go exactly to plan this weekend. We had a lot going on in the car and obviously the battle between Lewis and I was very tight. But we had to make sure that we were keeping up our intensity because Lewis and Anthony were on fire this weekend.
“It took a lot of mental strength to get through this weekend.”
Eddie Maguire and Zak Brakey finished third place just over 2mins in arrears; the Tasmanians also secured third place on the overall standings in their Skoda Fabia R5. Next were Taylor Gill and Daniel Brkic (Subaru Impreza WRX), who held off Luke Anear and Malcolm Read (Ford Fiesta Mk2) by 12s with another 9s to Troy Dowel and Bernie Webb (Fiesta Rally 2) who won the Production Cup round.
Gill's biggest challenger were Molly Taylor and Andy Sarandis (Subaru) who were seventh outright, despite having led the PC class early on. Peter Rullo and James Marquet (Hyundai i20 Rally 2) took out eighth place despite a puncture on the Power Stage, ahead of Richie Dalton and Dale Moscatt (Yaris). The latter took out the NSW Rally Championship earlier in the day.
Rounding out the 10 were Steve Maguire and Ben Searcy (Mitsubishi EVO 9). Their third in PC meant that Brodie Reading and Malcolm Young (Subaru) are the ARC Production Cup overall winners, despite finishing 13th.