Bates finishes 2013 ARC on top
- 19th November 2013, 11:58am
Heavy rains forced the cancellation of the test day on Wednesday and led to boggy conditions throughout the event.
A collision with a hidden stump in the opening stage on Friday caused an early setback for Bates and Taylor, forcing them to compete with reduced handling capability until repairs could be made to their Toyota Celica RA40's rear axle.
The pair was still able to win two stages that day, but the setback placed them in fourth position in the first heat.
The second heat on Saturday saw Bates and Taylor return to form, comfortably winning all seven stages and placing them second overall for the event.
Co-driver Coral Taylor said that the slippery conditions made things difficult from the start.
"We actually threw it off the road, which we haven't done for years, and it happened on the first corner of the first stage," Taylor said.
"I can't believe it happened but there you go, Neal is human after all!
"It was amazing, even though the car was damaged we still got the fastest time on the stage after that, and we won the second day and wrapped up the championship for the year so we were very happy with that," she said.
Neal Bates said that while he was happy to win the championship, the most enjoyable part of Rally Victoria and the Australian Rally Championship has been driving his Toyota Celica RA40.
"I stuffed it up on the first corner and it cost us five minutes, but it's been a very long time since I've done something like that," Bates said.
"We still got two fastest times with the damage in the first heat, then we won all the stages on the Sunday and we won the championship overall.
"But to me it's more about driving the car and enjoying it, so to have that much fun and come out with the championship is fantastic, and the Celica's a crowd favourite," he said.
The final points tally for the 2013 Australian Classic Rally Challenge driver points score for Neal Bates was 330, ahead of second place-getter Clay Badenoch by 122 points.
Coral Taylor's points totalled 249, making her the number one co-driver despite missing the Queensland round of the series.
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