Frustration and disappointment are the words Australian rally driver Molly Taylor is using to describe her weekend run at the Rally d’Italia Sardegna.

The Sydneysider and her Queensland-born co-driver, Rebecca Smart, damaged the radiator of their Ford Fiesta R2 during a heavy landing on the second stage of Day Two of the World Rally Championship event.

The Sardinian rally, which served as Round Two of the WRC Academy series created to test drivers under 25, started last Friday (May 6) with eight stages. The young drivers also contested Day Two (Saturday), which was made up of six stages, before finishing their event with a compulsory Academy de-brief on their performance and results.

Molly, who celebrated her 23rd birthday on the Friday, described Sardinia as ‘incredibly tough’, a real test of cars and drivers unlike any rally she has contested before. It’s not surprising – only five of the 17 identical Academy cars finished the first day, with no less than eight falling victim to a rock which ripped out sump guards. Molly’s car was one of them.

“I wasn’t happy with our pace in the opening loop and then we had a puncture in Stage Four which cost us time too, but after that things were definitely improving – until we hit the rock.”

After the Academy mechanical team worked miracles on the broken cars, the two Australians and many of their rivals were able to compete on Day Two under the ‘Superally’ rule. This means a crew can restart the event – and be eligible for points – after retirement due to technical or mechanical problems, in exchange for a time penalty.

In this case, five minutes was added to their time card but their chance to negate that would be short-lived. The first stage went well but by the second it was all over. The duo was well taken care of by friendly residents until they could retrieve the car from the stage, but it was not enough to ease the pain.

“What can I say? It’s obviously not the result we wanted,” Molly says.

“I wish we’d had more kilometres on Friday when we were in such a good position with so many other cars falling by the wayside, but then we did too.

“And we were looking good and feeling quite confident after the first stage on Saturday, only to come unstuck on the next one. Frustrated and disappointed are the only words that describe it all, but we’re taking on board everything we’ve learned so we do a better job at the next round in Finland.”

The third round of the six-event WRC Academy Cup will be part of the iconic Neste Oil Rally over the weekend of July 28-31, but the Australians will be back in action before that. They’ve entered the Jim Clark International Rally (May 27-28), the fourth round of the 2011 British Rally Championship series.
The WRC Academy competitors all drive identical Ford Fiesta R2s prepared by World Rally Championship specialists, M-Sport, with a Pirelli control tyre. Taylor and Smart are running an identical car in the British series.
More information on Molly and Rebecca can be found at <>

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