Taylor returns to Australian Rally Championship
By Iwan Jones
Monday 27th February, 2023 - 10:02am
Four-time Australian Rally Championship winner Coral Taylor is set to return to the national rally competition in 2023.
Taylor is set to co-drive with 2019 ARC title winner Harry Bates – brother of 2022 ARC victor Lewis Bates – in the 2023 Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) in a Toyota Gazoo Racing Yaris AP4.
Taylor’s record consists of four national titles, 34 round wins, as well as six Top 10 finishes in the FIA World Rally Championship.
She comes from a respected rallying family, being the daughter of mother of Norm Fritter, wife of rally driver Mark Taylor, while she is the mother of 2016 Australian Rally Championship winner and 2021 Extreme E title winner Molly Taylor.
Her return to the category follows a one-off appearance at Rally Launceston last year and sees a resumption of the well-known Bates and Taylor combination in Australian rallying, with this year’s season marking 30 years since she won her first ARC title alongside Harry’s father Neal Bates.
“The unexpected, and very last-minute opportunity, to co-drive for Harry in Rally Launceston last year, [when John McCarthy was struck down by COVID], was such an enjoyable event,” Taylor said.
“To be honest, after spending the last few years sitting on the other side of the fence in the service park, jumping back into a car felt so great.
“Harry and I had a lot of fun and for me it felt like coming back to my happy place, being in a competitive car and sitting beside a top driver – I hadn’t realised I’d missed it so much.”
“I joined Neal Bates Motorsport in 1993 so this opportunity now to sit beside Harry for the 2023 ARC is one hell of a way to celebrate my 30th anniversary with NBM and Toyota.
“I don’t think it has sunk in yet – I am very grateful and excited.”
Bates ‘excited’ on continuing the famous family rallying partnership
Bates said he was excited to pair up with his father’s long-time co-driver for the upcoming season.
“To be honest I was surprised she agreed to jump back in and do the full season with me – I was thrilled when she called and said she would do it,” the 27-year-old said.
“Coral is known by everyone in the sport as a consummate professional – she is amazing in the car, amazing on the pace notes.
“It’s going to be a tough fight for the championship this year, but I am so happy I have Coral on my team.
“We both want to win – I feel like Coral’s demeanour is so calm to everyone around her, but underneath there is a very competitive side to both of us for sure.”
He also paid tribute to his outgoing co-driver John McCarthy, who he won his national title alongside and made his WRC debut with at last year’s Rally New Zealand – finishing fourth in the WRC2 class and 10th in the overall standings in a Skoda Fabia Evo.
“I really can’t thank John (McCarthy) enough for eight brilliant years.
“I’m sure we haven’t done our last rally together.”
Round 1 of the 2023 Australian Rally Championship will commence at Rally Launceston in Tasmania on March 24-26.
New co-driver signing for 2023. Yes, bringing the Bates/Taylor partnership back for a proper go at the @MotorsportARC title!
I’m so excited to have @CoralRally in the car this year and can not wait to get started with pre season testing next week. pic.twitter.com/NrBsA5H99E
— Harry Bates (@HarryBates5) February 26, 2023
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