The Capital Rally proved to be big one for Australia’s two most famous rallying families, with Molly Taylor winning her first Australian Rally Championship round, and Harry Bates finishing third in the second heat on debut.
Taylor, daughter of legendary co-drive Coral Taylor, backed up her maiden heat win at the first round in Western Australia by taking her first round win in Canberra.
The Renault driver narrowly missed out winning Saturday’s first heat to Tony Sullens, and made the clever decision to concede Heat 2 to Eli Evans, knowing that with Evans DNF from Heat 1, she’d comfortably be crowned the round winner.
“Incredible, for everyone I think,” she said.
“The afternoon could have gone 10 different ways depending on what we did and what everyone else did. We knew we had a chance to win the rally, but also thinking about the championship points as well, especially considering some of our main competition had problems.
“It was a balancing act and I think I might have a few grey hairs.”
One of the turning points of the second day of competition was Adrian Coppin’s Citroen grinding to a halt while on course for second place on the penultimate stage. Not only did his retirement guarantee that Taylor would win the round, but it gave ARC debutant Harry Bates – son of Australian rally legend Neal Bates – third place.
“Didn’t expect that at all, especially in our car compared to who we’re up against,” said Bates Junior.
“I can’t believe it, [it’s] a bit surreal!”
To add to the family fun, long-standing duo Neal Bates and Coral Taylor comfortably took out the Classic class in their Toyota Celica RA40.