At the final round in Canberra, Toyota drivers Harry and Lewis Bates are fighting it out for the title, and as they’re in positions one and two respectively following Special Stage 11, they will now fight on the Power Stage for the title.
It’s essentially a winner-takes-all scenario.
If either driver wins the stage and takes maximum points, they will be crowned Australian Rally Champion.
For other competitors, it leaves a big chance to not only win the final Power Stage of the season, but also to upset the apple cart in terms of the title.
If anyone other than Harry or Lewis Bates wins the Power Stage, then it swings the favouritism far into the younger Bates’ favour.
As it currently stands, Harry Bates needs to overhaul four points to win the title.
Speaking to RallySport Magazine before the Rally of Canberra, both drivers were skeptical about the prospect of fighting for the title over a singular stage.
“I haven’t thought that far ahead,” Harry admitted in the week prior.
“It’s such a long rally. These are all scenarios that could end up happening but there’s also scenarios that could not at the same time. It only takes a puncture or some sort of issue for that to change pretty quickly.
“So who knows? I haven’t thought too much about the Power Stage yet.”
Lewis added his thoughts on the pre-Power Stage regroup: “It’ll be a tense one hour, let me tell you that.
“It’s pretty crazy to think a championship can come down to one little five-kilometre stage.
“If it were to come down to the Power Stage then I’ve definitely got confidence in our one stage shootout (pace).
“I’ll have my headphones on and doing some revision in that regroup. Put it this way, I don’t think we’ll be giving each other any tips on how to go faster on the next stage.”
In the event of a tie on points, the winner of this event will be crowned champion thanks to their higher number of rally wins in season 2023.
The Power Stage will be live online on 7plus.
Live Australian Rally Championship standings:
1. Lewis Bates: 524 points
2. Harry Bates: 521 points
Power Stage points are awarded as follows:
1st place: 10 points
2nd place: 6 points
3rd place: 4 points
4th place: 2 points
5th place: 1 point