Coral Taylor has labelled Harry Bates as a ‘very special driver’ following the duo’s incredible Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship title-winning Sunday at the Subaru Canberra Rally of Canberra.
The duo had trailed 2022 champions Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin for the entire 2023 season, having endured a rollercoaster of a season that saw them win three rallies, including the season finale and title in the nation’s capital.
While they also had their fair share of low moments across the season, including multiple errors that ultimately cost them victories, the duo eventually prevailed and took out the title after winning Canberra’s EROAD Power Stage by just two seconds.
Remarkably, the end of the final stage of the season’s final event was the first time Harry and Taylor had led the championship all year – completing a remarkable comeback.
“This one’s pretty special because so many things have happened this year, and we’ve really had to fight our way back from a few down moments to get here,” Taylor said post-EROAD Power Stage.
“It was so close, you know. Really, one stage, six and a half kilometres, and whichever team won that stage won a championship. So, yeah, I’m extremely excited – I’m a bit lost for words, but it’s fantastic.
“Before the rally started, we said a stage is a series of corners. You just concentrate corner by corner, and then that becomes stages and stages become rallies. And, you know, you just put your best foot forward and concentrate on what you’re doing.
“And really, that’s what we’ve done all weekend.
“I would just like to thank Harry and the whole team at Neal Bates Motorsport because this was unexpected for me, the opportunity to do this year.
“We’ve had a fabulous time. Harry’s obviously a very special driver. He’s a very special human being and it’s been fabulous.”
In winning the title, Taylor becomes a five-time Australian champion and makes her the equal most successful co-driver in ARC history – a record she shares with Craig Vincent, the regular co-driver of seven-time champion Possum Bourne.
Taylor won her previous four titles calling the notes for Harry Bates’ father Neal, three of which were in consecutive years between 1993 and 1995 before claiming their most recent title in 2008.