TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Australia’s (TGRA) Harry Bates and co-driver Coral Taylor have stormed home to win the 2023 Driver’s and Co-Driver’s Championship titles in the Australian Rally Championship (ARC) in what came down to a fierce battle between the Bates brothers in the final round in ACT over the weekend.
Going into the weekend of the pair’s home-town Rally of Canberra, Lewis Bates and co-driver Anthony McLoughlin had a narrow 23-point lead but Harry and Coral brought it home with 7 stage wins in the GR Yaris AP4 to lead Lewis and Anthony by just 3.9 seconds ahead of the final EROAD Power Stage.
A stunning drive by Harry and Coral saw the pair win the final stage by just 2.1 seconds, enough to win the weekend’s rally and secure the points to finish just 1 point ahead of reigning ARC champions Lewis and Anthony for the 2023 ARC season.
The 2023 ARC Driver’s and Co-Driver’s titles for Harry and Coral respectively gave Bates his second and Taylor her fifth, while Toyota had already claimed victory in the 2023 ARC Manufacturer’s Championship following the last round in Adelaide.
Speaking after the rally, Harry Bates said it had been a very intense final round, but he was ecstatic that he and Coral had been able to bring it home.
“This rally has really been a reflection of the entire season with myself and Coral battling it out against Lewis and Anthony for maximum points in every round and it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster,” Harry said.
“We swapped the lead a number of times over the weekend but we knew to take the title, we needed to win the rally and the power stage for the points, so we just kept up the pace and the concentration because Lewis and Anthony were so close.
“It’s so good to have won this weekend, all four us were on fire and the team had prepped the cars really well so this is a victory not just for Coral and myself, but the whole TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Australia Rally Team," he said.
Toyota Australia Chief Marketing Officer Vin Naidoo congratulated Harry, Coral, Lewis and Anthony, and said it was a fantastic culmination of what had been a great season of Australian rallying.
“Our congratulations go to Harry and Coral for what was not only a stellar drive over the weekend to finish the season with the championship titles, but also to consistently push through any adversity throughout the season to come out on top," Mr Naidoo said.
"To Lewis and Anthony, you both had an unbelievable season, you drove incredibly well, taking the final fight down to the final stage in the final round. Being on the podium each round is a remarkable achievement in itself, and something to be proud of.
“Lastly, I’d like the thank and congratulate the entire TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Australia Rally Team run by Neal Bates Motorsport for the outstanding performance across the year with TGRA taking the top and second spots on the season podium and the 2023 Manufacturers Championship title.
“The work that the entire Neal Bates Motorsport team does to bring home victory after victory is nothing short of incredible, and we will continuously thank you for everything you do,” he said.