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Harry Bates has taken the honours in the first stage of Subaru Rally Tasmania on Friday evening, piloting his Yaris to a 0.4s lead overnight. The sole stage of the evening was a quick blast around the Inveresk Super Special Stage which saw similar crowd numbers to last year's spectacular turnout. Richie Dalton continued to impress, with a second-place finish on the stage ahead of the returning champ, Simon Evans.

Simon Evans lies third in his Les Walkden Subaru after the Inveresk Super Special Stage. Photo: Luke Whitten

Evans lived up to his showman nature on the second run of the stage (the first was not timed), and wowed the crowd. Molly Taylor was fourth followed by leading Tasmanian Timothy Auty in his impressive Mazda 323. Marcus Walkem and Luke Anear both completed the stage unscathed, but the latter lost more than 15 seconds. Both will be aiming to learn their new machines this weekend. Nic Grave posted an impressive time in the Buckby Subaru RS Challenge only 5.2 seconds slower than the leader, Bates. Saturday sees the crews head east of Launceston for 10 special stages in what is shaping up to be perfect sunny conditions.
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