An almost perfect performance from Harry Bates and John McCarthy has seen the duo victorious in the 2020 Netier National Capital Rally and RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Cup.
Having dominated the field on Saturday to win all 10 stages, Bates and McCarthy continued on their merry way, winning all but one of the day’s six stages to claim the win by almost three minutes over Molly Taylor and Dale Moscatt.
Behind the wheel of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia prepared Toyota Yaris AP4 for the final time as they move to a new car next year, Bates and McCarthy were too good all weekend and never looked in doubt of giving up the lead – despite a few minor setbacks.
"It was an incredible weekend for us, it was not quite perfect, we didn't get everything our own way," Bates said.
"All in all, everything was pretty good and we were stoked with our performance."
The only crew to claim a stage win over Bates and McCarthy was Taylor and Moscatt as the duo battled hard all weekend but just couldn’t close the leaders down, eventually settling with a well-deserved second place.
Four and half minutes behind the Orange Motorsport Engineering Subaru WRX Sti and rounding out the top three after an epic battle was Clayton Hoy and Erin Kelly, who finished the weekend with a top three finish, Hoosier Challenge victory and MTA Motorsport Australia NSW Rally Championship win.
Having gained third place after Saturday’s first four stages, Hoy and Kelly did their best to defend their spot against AGI Sport’s Luke Anear and Andy Sarandis and High Country Motorsport’s Chris Higgs and Steve Fisher with very little separating the three crews on Saturday evening.
While Anear drove as good as he could on Sunday, going faster on most stages and closing the gap significantly, a wrong turn on Sunday morning ended up costing him third place as he just came up short on the final stage – losing third by one and half seconds.
In fifth place were Higgs and Fisher and while they were out of the top three race early on Sunday morning, the duo also came up short to the Mitsubishi Evo 6 of Hoy and Kelly in the Hoosier Challenge with more than a minute separating the two.
A solid weekend from JJ Hatton and Nathan Long in their J Sport Hyundai i20 saw them grab sixth ahead of Andrew Penny and Aleshia Penney in the Kosciuszko Automotive Subaru WRX.
Like the battle for third, the ARC 2WD Cup went right down to the wire as Trevor Stilling and Nigel Walters ended up pipping junior young guns Ryan Williams and Brad Jones in the final two stages of the rally to win the class.
It was a fantastic effort from the High Country Automotive Group Nissan Silvia drivers as they trailed the R’N’B Rally Team Mitsubishi Mirage by five and half minutes on Saturday night, only to claw their way back into the contest, passing Williams by half a second on the penultimate stage, and getting the win on the final stage.
Rounding out the outright top 10 and the ARC 2WD Cup top three was Rob Bishop and Jacci Sharkey in the Kosciuszko Automotive prepared Mitsubishi Mirage
The Netier National Capital Rally will return early next year as the opening round for the 2021 RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship on 26-28 March.
Netier National Capital Rally Provisional Top 10
Harry Bates/John McCarthy 2:04:54.9
Molly Taylor/Dale Moscatt +02:54.4
Clayton Hoy/Erin Kelly +07:25.4
Luke Anear/Andy Sarandis +07:26.7
Chris Higgs/Steve Fisher +08:32.9
JJ Hatton/Nathan Long +10:15.7
Andrew Penny/Rhys Llewellyn +11.38.8
Trevor Stilling/Nigel Walters +24:33.1
Ryan Williams/Brad Jones +24:39.2
Rob Bishop/Jacci Sharkey +25:30.2