Harry Bates and Coral Taylor have confirmed the famous rallying driving combination will return to this year’s Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC).
Taylor, a four-time ARC champion co-driver, will fill the co-driver’s seat left vacant by 2019 champion John McCarthy, who recently confirmed he would sit out the 2023 season.
The Bates and Taylor name has plenty of history in rally, with Taylor the long-time co-driver for Harry’s father and four-time Australian champion, Neal.
Harry, who himself won the 2019 ARC, most recently paired up with Taylor in 2022 when COVID forced McCarthy out of the seat at the Buckby ŠKODA Rally Launceston event.
Coincidentally, that event will now be the pair’s first together, with Tasmania hosting the season opener in just under four weeks’ time.
Bates said he was thrilled to be working with Taylor again and was confident the pair would have a strong season.
“I’m very excited to have Coral on board for 2023,” Bates said.
“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.
“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.
“I really can’t thank John (McCarthy) enough for eight brilliant years. I’m sure we haven’t done our last rally together.”
Taylor explained the 2022 Rally Launceston with Harry had reaffirmed she had the desire and capabilities to take on the co-driver role for this year’s ARC.
“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,” Taylor said.
“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 & Toyota. I don’t think it has sunk in yet. I am very grateful and excited.”
Bates and Taylor will begin their 2023 Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship campaign at the Buckby ŠKODA Rally Launceston on 24-26 March.
For full spectator information about the event, head to www.rally.com.au/launceston.