Australian rally crew Molly Taylor and Rebecca Smart are gearing up for the first step towards their debut in this year’s World Rally Championship.

The duo have entered this weekend’s Rallye Sunseeker, the first round of the British Rally Championship – the first time they have competed together.

Molly, 22, from Sydney, won a scholarship to contest this year’s FIA World Rally Championship Academy during a high-pressure international shootout last year. In January she announced she had asked Rebecca, 24, from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, to join her in the elite training series which is aimed at developing young drivers through to the top levels of the sport.

“While we’re obviously going out to be as competitive as we can be, this weekend is really more of a ‘shakedown’ for Bec and me, in readiness for the WRC round next month,” says Molly, who works full-time for international rally specialist, M-Sport, in between her competition commitments.

“We’ve been practising my pace note system so Bec is familiar with it, and working out all the other processes that are involved in competing in an international event.

“The WRC is going to be a huge challenge for us, particularly because we haven’t competed together before. I’m sure we have different ways of doing things but we have to develop a system that works for both of us and this weekend will give us a chance to sort out what works and what doesn’t.”

Rallye Sunseeker is based in Poole and Bournemouth on England’s south coast and kicks off with a ceremonial start on Friday, February 25. The actual rally is run on Saturday with a total distance of 257km, of which 96.56km (11 special stages) is timed against the clock.

A total of 63 cars are entered in the event, but only 28 in the ‘international’ category that the Australians are contesting. They’ll drive a Ford Fiesta R2, similar to the car they will use in the world series this year.
Molly began rallying in 2005 and moved to the UK two years ago (she has dual citizenship) to be closer to the top levels of the sport, with the aim of making a career as a professional driver.

She began posting solid results immediately, taking third in the Citroën Racing Trophy (a one-make sub-series of the British Rally Championship) with several round wins to her credit, fourth outright in the British Junior Rally Championship and being awarded as British Ladies Rally Champion in 2009 and 2010.

Rebecca started watching rallying at the age of 12 with her brother Ryan before the pair launched into the sport in 2007 with a car they bought on eBay! They were second outright last year in the Australian Rally Championship.

The qualified vet nurse will call the notes for Molly in a hectic schedule which will see them tackle six rounds of the world championship as part of the Academy as well as selected rounds of the British and European rally series.
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