In celebration of an entertaining CAMS Australian Rally Championship in 2018, rally.com.au took the time to recap the top 10 moments from the year.
From special debuts to triumphant returns to unforgettable moments, the 2018 ARC season provided fans with a variety of memories that will be etched into history.
Re-live the second instalment from the top-10 countdown recapping the year.
#5 – Hatton’s break-out stage win
The 2018 CAMS Australian Rally Championship saw a four-way title battle between Eli Evans, Harry Bates, Steve Glenney and Molly Taylor take place all the way until the final day of the year.
Of all the 107 stages available across six rounds, 2018 champion Evans was fastest on 54 stages, Bates took 40 wins, eventual runner-up Glenney claimed 13, while 2016 champion Taylor claimed one stage.
The only other driver to break into this elite circle was JJ Hatton, who found himself fastest on the third stage at Kennards Hire Rally Australia.
The stage win put him second outright behind then-leader Bates, but his run was derailed with suspension damage just two stages later.
#4 – First win for the Toyota Yaris AP4
After plenty of hard work and patience, 2018 proved to be a strong year for the Toyota Yaris AP4.
After a difficult back-end to the 2017 ARC season, the Neal Bates Motorsport crew worked tirelessly over the off-season to improve the car, to which they were rewarded instantly with a win at the 2018 Courier Eureka Rally.
Harry Bates and John McCarthy were emphatic in the opening round, claiming a clean sweep of both heats and the bonus point for the most stage wins.
A welcome reward for the team’s hard work and dedication in the off season.
#3 – Penny the victor in ARC2 final
ARC2 is all about helping state competitors succeed at a national level, and this year’s ARC2 competition did just that.
Alongside co-driver Rhys Llewellyn, Kosciuszko Automotive Rally Team’s Andrew Penny found himself in the ARC2 final at Rally Australia after some luck had gone his way in the lead up.
Come the final, there was no luck needed as the rally veteran not only took out the ARC2 title, but sensationally finish third outright in the ARC field.
Fittingly, it was their first podium at a national event.
#2: Bates SA victory sets up Rally Aus showdown
At the end of four rounds, the 2018 season was looking pretty good for Eli Evans and Ben Searcy, after the pair had claimed three consecutive round victories.
However an uncharacteristic error for the Tankformers’ driver at the BOTT Adelaide Hills Rally saw them drop the fifth round as Harry Bates and John McCarthy claimed their first victory since the opening round.
Bates’ victory over second-placed Molly Taylor and Evans in third eventually set up a mouth-watering four-way battle title race in the final round of the year.
#1 – Evans and Searcy win 2018 ARC in NSW
Despite their mishap in the previous round, Eli Evans and Ben Searcy were in the box seat for the 2018 title, going into the final round with a 57-point advantage over Harry Bates.
The Coffs Coast still presented the eventual champions with some serious challenges, as their Skoda Fabia R5 suffered a damaged radiator on the first day, before re-joining the field in the second day.
That was their lowest point of the event, as Evans and Searcy managed to work their way back up the field, eventually finishing fifth outright and claiming the Australian title.
In what was Evans’ fourth title and Searcy’s first, the pair were relieved the finally claim the title after what proved a challenging year for the pair.
Published: 10 January, 2019