Neal Bates and Coral Taylor have sealed their third successive title in the Classic section of the Australian Rally Championship after cruising to victory at Rally Australia last weekend.
The four-time national champions put on a dominant display from start to finish, winning every stage of the event held on gravel roads around the northern NSW town of Coffs Harbour in their 1980 Toyota Celica RA40.
The victory ensured the duo earned sufficient points to close out the 2014 Classic Series, which runs as part of the Australian Rally Championship, with one round of the season remaining.
Bates and Taylor have won every classic series title they have entered since 2012, which Bates said was the result of his crew’s hard work and dedication.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to win again and I’m really grateful to the team for the way they prepared the car and set up our service area so professionally, even when the conditions weren’t that helpful,” Bates said. “Once again the car was brilliant to drive all weekend and stood up to some pretty hard punishment, including a lot of big jumps on day one.”
“Rally Australia is a great event to be involved and has a really good buzz because all the World Rally Championship teams are here.”
Taylor said she was delighted to clinch the championship and record another strong victory after overcoming a weekend of mixed conditions. “It’s a great feeling to do it again and we always love competing up here in Coffs Harbour, where we take on some of the best and most satisfying rally roads in the country,” she said.
“We had a bit of everything with the conditions. There was a lot of rain in the region before the event which made the test day very slippery, and then periods of blue skies and lots of dust. We then had another downpour on Friday night which turned the service park into a quagmire.”
“However, the team did a fantastic job giving us such a fast car and we were really pleased to put on a good show in front of so many enthusiastic spectators who seemed to really enjoy the international flavour of the event,” Taylor said.
Bates and Taylor will finish their season at Rally Victoria on November 14 and 15.