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It’s one of the longest relationships in motorsport, probably the world over, but at the upcoming International Rally of Queensland Neal Bates and Coral Taylor will temporarily part ways breaking a partnership that has stood since 1993.

“It’d be fun to say it’s something dramatic like after all these years Neal’s finally realised he actually wants to be a co-driver!” quipped Coral.

“But in truth for the first time in a long time I’ve been able to get my family together for a holiday, we’re going to Italy, and the only time all of our calendars crossed just happened to coincide with Rally Queensland.”


The partnership of Neal Bates and Coral Taylor is one of the truly remarkable stories in Australian motorsport. They first teamed together at the Healesville Stages in Victoria at the start of the 1993 ARC season, and on their debut outing in a Toyota Celica GT4 they tasted victory.

In the intervening years they’ve teamed together on over 130 Australian Rally Championship and World Rally Championship Rounds and had the occasional specialty outing at events like Targa Tasmania.

So what now for Bates, left co-driverless for the first time in 20 years, who will call the notes for Rally Queensland?

“I’ve asked my son Harry to come along for a ride!” laughed Bates. “Coral is like family, so who better to replace her than an actual family member.”

“It won’t technically be his first time calling pace notes for me, we did a club rally in the Corolla S2000 in Canberra, and he was actually pretty good at reading the notes. He probably wasn’t so good with the time cards, so I’m expecting to get a few penalties, but maybe that’s just a good excuse to drive a bit faster!”

“It will be a bit strange not having Coral alongside, we’ve competed together since 1993, so maybe after all those years together she’s finally earnt herself a weekend away!”

“Then again maybe Harry will be so good I won’t want Coral to come back!” joked Bates.
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