Harry Bates was the clear winner in the voting for RallySport Magazine's Top 10 drivers of 2019, but there were a few surprises thrown in.
Voting was performed by eight industry experts, with the criterial being simple – drivers must be Australian and have competed during at home during the 2019 rally season.
Selection was open to drivers in all championships, on both gravel and tarmac.
Bates came out on top, with six of the eight judges ranking him as the country's best, while former national champion and Alpine Rally winner Nathan Quinn, took the top spot from two judges.
Molly Taylor's consistent season netted her third spot, ahead of young guns Lewis Bates and Arron Windus.
The top 10 is:
1. Harry Bates
The Canberra driver scored a perfect five out of five in rounds of the Australian Rally Championship this year, and was the dominant driver in the dominant car. With his sights set on heading to Europe, as well as defending his Australia title, Bates is set for an exciting future.
2. Nathan Quinn
Didn't do an ARC round in 2019, but won everything else he tackled this year, including the Alpine Rally, the East Coast Classic Rally and AMSAG series'. Showed his unquestionable ability and fans are hoping beyond hope that he'll be back at the top level in 2020 – if he can secure a car.
Nathan Quinn with Colin Clark at the Alpine Rally.
3. Molly Taylor
Bouncing back after her big Rally Australia crash in 2018 showed Taylor's mettle, and her consistency this year was impressive. The big Subaru was at a disadvantage against the AP4 cars, but she battled strongly and produced some great results. Her Heat 2 drive in the Adelaide Rally was superb.
4. Lewis Bates
Many believe the younger Bates will be the best yet, and equal second in the ARC showed that Lewis has the goods. A slow, unlucky, roll in Canberra was his only blemish for the year, but his stage times showed there's still plenty more left in the tank for the years to come.
Lewis Bates (right) and team sponsor Oliver Jentsch from Damesa Industries.
5. Arron Windus
Totally dominated the Victorian championship in a Subaru Impreza and set incredible times in his home ARC round, the Eureka Rally. His final heat crash in the Akademos Rally destroyed the Subaru and showed some immaturity behind the wheel, but there's plenty to like for the future.
6. Simon Evans
Only contested two ARC rounds in a Les Walkden Rallying Subaru, but showed that he's lost little of his tenacity once he pulls the helmet over his head. Sadly, we're likely to see less of Evans in future years, but 2019 gave us a nice reminder of why he's a four-time Australian Rally Champion.
7. Richie Dalton
When his Ford Fiesta was reliable, Dalton showed that the speed is there, despite him still being a relative newcomer to the sport. A variety of events is giving him the experience for the future, and he was one of the few to be able to challenge the ARC's top three on a regular basis.
8. Brendan Reeves
Further down the list than many would expect, but Reeves had a pretty quiet year on the stages. Strong performances in Targa Tasmania and the Valley Stages were impressive. Still one of the fastest drivers in the country, it's likely Reeves would rise quickly up the list if he can get back into a competitive car at the highest level.
9. Glen Raymond
Winning the NSW state championship* this year added to the Victorian title he has already won. Another of the many self-funded drivers who could be taking the ARC by storm if he was given an opportunity in a newer car – after all, he is a former ARC event winner back in the Group N(P) Corolla days. * Provisionally
10. Luke Anear
Anear debuted a Ford Fiesta R5 in this year's ARC and came to grips with the car reasonably quickly, while also winning in his class in the Targa championship in a Subaru WRX. Experience wise, Anear is still raw, but his versatility on both gravel and tarmac show that he's a driver to watch in the future.
Luke Anear (right) with fellow competition Steve Glenney.
This year's judges:
Peter Whitten (RallySport Magazine), Dean Herridge (multiple ARC event winner), Tom Smith (former Queensland Rally Championship winning co-driver), Luke Whitten (RallySport Magazine), Neil Blackbourn (Rally NSW media team), Jack Martin (leading ARC photographer), Dallas Dogger (experienced ARC media manager), Matt Whitten (RallySport Magazine).
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