A win by Neal Bates in heat two of the Rally of Melbourne today has reignited the race for the Australian Rally Championship with just one round remaining. The result gives the Toyota Team Australia driver the lead in the series on unadjusted ...
A win by Neal Bates in heat two of the Rally of Melbourne today has reignited the race for the Australian Rally Championship with just one round remaining.
The result gives the Toyota Team Australia driver the lead in the series on unadjusted points for the first time this year.
It also sets up the final round next month, Saxon Safari Tasmania, as the series decider.
Bates won heat two by 2min12sec from Mitsubishi's Ed Ordynski after Toyota mechanics worked late into the previous night to repair damaged sustained in Bates' heat one rollover.
"I owe this result to the team - they did a terrific job and we're right back in the championship as a result," Bates said.
Former series leader and defending champion Possum Bourne did not start today after another high speed crash late yesterday and will leave Melbourne with a badly damaged Subaru and no additional championship points.
Team-mate Cody Crocker had better luck, the young Victorian hanging onto thrid place behind Ordynski after an off-road excursion on the second last stage of the day.
Combined with a first place in heat one the result gives Crocker his first ever ARC heat win.
"To win our first ARC title is fantastic and the fact its our home rally makes it even better.
We knew we had to finish third or better and it was all going to plan until that stage," Crocker said.
The mistake resulted in a flat tyre and almost a minute lost to Ordynski..
"That was nearly a total disaster...luckily our buffer was big enough to hold onto third," Crocker said.
Formula 2 class honours in heat two were again claimed by Simon Evans (Volkswagen), 39 seconds ahead of the Daihatsu of defending champion Rick Bates.
Evans' clean sweep of both heats allows the Victorian to reclaim the class lead from Corolla Cup driver Steve Forsberg heading into the final round.