Restored 1980 Toyota Celica RA40
Restored 1980 Toyota Celica RA40
Restored 1980 Toyota Celica RA40
Restored 1980 Toyota Celica RA40

Nov 19, 2012– Victoria, Australia  (Techreleased) – Four-time national rally champions Neal Bates and Coral Taylor have sealed victory in the 2012 Australian Classic Rally Challenge seriesin their restored 1980 Toyota Celica RA40.

The duo finished second at the season-closing Rally Victoria, which earned them sufficient points to clinch victory in both the drivers’ and co-drivers’ titles.

The Australian Classic Rally Challenge runs as part of the Australian Rally Championship for pre-1986 rally cars.

Bates and Taylor won three rallies during the season in their 1980 Toyota Celica RA40, which was hand-built from a bare shell over 18 months and features an authentic World Rally Championship period livery.

Bates said he enjoyed competing in the classic section of the ARC.

“Coral and I have loved every minute of it,” he said.

“The car was absolutely brilliant all year − it’s so much fun to drive, makes a great noise and is sideways a lot, which is pretty spectacular for everyone watching.”

Bates and Taylor won the first heat in Victoria before a minor gearshift issue cost them time during the second stage of heat two.

They corrected the problem and rejoined the action to finish behind overall event winners Grant Walker and Craig Thomas.

“We’ve had the best time this year,” Taylor said.

“The main thing for me has been showing off the car to the crowds, who have loved looking at and watching it all season.

“It’s been a real pleasure.”

Bates and Taylor will announce their motorsport plans for 2013 in the coming months.