After 2022 WRC debutant Harry Bates and John McCarthy crashed out 21km into SS12-Corindi North II, Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin needed only to finish the final Power Stage SS14-Moleton II to claim the title.
The pairing clinched victory in the final stage to seal the ARC title, edging out 2022 Rally New Zealand WRC2 class winners Hayden Paddon and John Kennard by 0.900s and finishing five seconds clear of their nearest ARC competitors Nathan Quinn and David Green.
“You can't really script what was playing out, it was a difficult weekend,” Bates said.
“I was probably being too careful coming into the rally trying to look after the car too much, it's a rough event.
“I think in the end it played in our favour, we made it to the end and yeah I'm super happy.”
Paddon and Kennard dominated the final day of the event in winning the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship, claiming victory in all five stages before the Power Stage finale.
“It's what we came here to do. It's a big relief especially after all the troubles yesterday,” Paddon said.
“We've had to work for it, the team has done an awesome job and everyone one back at home who has supported us.
“It's been awesome fighting with Harry [Bates] and Nathan [Quinn] here as well. [We] Really enjoyed it this weekend.
“Luckily we've come out the right end. It was hard work but worth it.”
This year's Supercheap Auto Coffs Coast Rally proved to be a brutal fixture, shown by Luke Anear and Alan Stephenson's massive rollover 24km into SS2-Sherwood South 1, Bates and McCarthy's crash on SS12-Corindi North II, while Quinn's Hyundai i20 G4 sustained a broken driveshaft on SS13-Store Road II.
After setting the scene for this year's title finale, the Power Stage is set to feature at all events on the 2023 schedule with the bonus-points format proving popular with competitors and spectators alike.
The 2023 RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship will commence with Rally Launceston, Tasmania from March 24-26.