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RALLY AUSTRALIA END OF AN ERA FOR BATES AND TAYLOR

Toyota rally driver Neal Bates and co-driver Coral Taylor will compete together in their Toyota Corolla WRC for the last time at Rally Australia in Perth on the third and fourth of November.
The Bates/Taylor combination has been a highly successful pairing for the past nine years with a podium finish in every Aust Rally Championship contested.

The duo are confident they will be working together in motorsport in 2002, although at this stage nothing is confirmed.

“I currently have a number of irons in several different fires - which category to choose is the main decision,” Bates said.

The rally in Perth is the 12th leg of the international World Rally Championship.

Although Bates is not vying for World Championship points he will tackle the slippery WA roads with his usual intensity to secure manufacturers points for Toyota.

“I won’t be travelling the width of the country just to put the car on cruise control and take in the scenery,” Bates said.

The Bates team has totally rebuilt the car in preparation for its final race.

Motorsport manager Mike Breen said Toyota Australia’s wind-down of its association with the Australian Rally Championship did not signal a decrease in its motorsport commitment.

“Toyota is currently involved in CART and Formula One overseas and is investigating the feasibility of complementing its GTP Nations Cup involvement locally through the Shell Championship Series,” he said.

The relationship between Neal Bates and Toyota Australia spans more than 12 years.

In 1989 Bates was selected to take part in a Toyota Star Search, a program which gave young talent from virtually every sphere of motor sport the chance to drive in a works Toyota Corolla in rounds of the Australian Touring Car Championship.

The two winners of the contest received the chance to team up to drive one of the Toyota Team Australia Corollas in the Bathurst 1000.

Bates was selected as one of two winners, teaming with co-winner, motorcycle racer Mike Dowson, to win their class in the Bathurst Classic in 1989.

Following his on-track success Toyota chose Bates to spearhead its entry into the Australian Rally Championship with the all-new Toyota Celica GT- Four.

His searing speed and determination has won him three Australian Rally Championships in a row, in 1993, 1994 and 1995.



 
IMAGES
Neal Bates and Coral Taylor together in their Toyota Corolla WRC at Rally Australia for the last time.