Team News

Dalton back on the podium at Rally Launceston

Harry Bates and Coral Taylor have secured their first Australian Rally Championship heat win together as the championship welcomed a new podium place getter for the second event in a row.

Bates and Taylor took victory in emphatic fashion, often being near on two seconds per kilometre faster than their closet rival.

Leaving no stone unturned, Bates took all the stage wins, with his GR Yaris singing through the final stages of the day.

Equalling his best career result in the ARC, Richie Dalton locked away points for second in the heat and continued his run as the closest man to Bates’ dominance this season.

A high-speed spin in the day’s last stage cost him time, with the ex-pat Irishman finishing three minutes off the pace as a result.

Lying second for much of the day, Tom Clarke and Ryan Preston were the unfortunate victims of a serious crash on the fifth stage of the rally.

Both men are okay, but after a heavy side-on impact, they will be unable to start the day tomorrow, with their Ford Fiesta R5 much worse for wear.

The man who took his first heat podium was Troy Dowel, who, with Bernie Webb alongside, drove smartly in the conditions to get great reward for his efforts.

Still a young driver learning his craft, Dowel is patient in his approach and is now starting to reap the rewards of many kilometres of experience in the past 18 months.

Fourth place in Western Australia followed by third on day one in Launceston gives him strong confidence and a great chance to get on the overall podium this weekend.

Lewis Bates and his Toyota GR Yaris AP4 recovered to fourth position in heat one as he fought back from two separate issues: a puncture and a brush with a tree.

Reigning Targa Tasmania winner, Eddie Maguire, battled his Mitsubishi with only rear-wheel drive for part of the day and finished in fifth place.

Subaru driver, Taylor Gill, also took a leaf out of Dowel’s playbook and drove cautiously in the wet conditions and placed sixth for his efforts.

Gill could have placed higher but was handed a one-minute time penalty in the confusion in the delay of the day’s first stage. It cost him two places on the leaderboard.

Bodie Reading was the second Tasmanian home in seventh followed by the Hyundai i20 R5 of Daniel Gonzalez and Caleb Ash in eighth.

Ryan Williams and Brad Jones’ Ford Fiesta didn’t miss a beat during the day’s action and took both the two-wheel drive and junior honours.

He won the 2WD Cup by three minutes over Dean Ridge’s Citroen.

Behind Williams in the Junior Cup were James Dimmock and Paul Bennett, who benefited from the late retirement of Aidan Peterson’s Daihatsu Charade.

The sweet-sounding Charade was only temporary on Saturday’s action as electrical troubles, a double puncture and eventually a belt failure ended his day on stage five.

It is unlikely that the pair will rejoin tomorrow.

More wet and tricky conditions will greet crews tomorrow in six more stages including the rally-ending Power Stage set to be streamed live on 7plus.

With a few battered cars from Saturday’s action, Sunday’s game plan might turn more to survival for many crews.