ARC leader teaming up with Coral Taylor

Harry Bates and Coral Taylor. Picture: Dakar Press Team Australia

Coral Taylor will make her Australian Rally Championship return this weekend in the front-running car of Harry Bates.

Taylor, the mother of Extreme E and ARC champion Molly Taylor, won four national titles during a storied career alongside Neal Bates, as well competing on the World Rally Championship stage.

She’ll now join forces with Neal’s son Harry, whose regular co-driver John McCarthy has been ruled out of this weekend’s Shannons Rally Launceston due to COVID-19.

It’s not the first time Bates Jnr and Taylor Snr have combined, having contested the 2015 Rally of the Bay together.

It is the first time, however, that 2019 champion Bates will line up in an ARC round without McCarthy by his side.

“It’s a shame John won’t be with us this weekend as he had to stay home, but he is feeling okay and we will make sure he is ready to go for next month’s Accent Benchtop Rally Queensland,” Bates said.

“In the current climate, we had always had a backup plan for this scenario, which was to have Coral on standby, so it isn’t exactly a bad trade off as Coral is a pretty strong replacement.

“Having a legend of the sport like Coral calling the notes for me will be a weird experience because I grew up watching Dad’s onboards and hearing her voice on a screen, so it will be surreal to hear it in real life.

“With that said, it’s going to be business as usual even though Dad and I have very different notes systems – I am sure someone of Coral’s experience will adapt fine to my complicated system.

“I am kind of excited at the thought of having someone new sitting next to me though. John and I have been doing it together for ages so that we know exactly how the other operates and we think similar, so to have Coral in will be a new type of challenge.

“Of course, I always like a new challenge, I don’t know if this was the one I would have wanted, but it is exciting and a great opportunity – especially for Coral who I am sure will be both excited and nervous to be sitting in what are the fastest cars to ever grace the ARC.”

Bates holds a 69-point lead over Richie Dalton entering Round 3 of the season.

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