INTERVIEW: MOLLY TAYLOR
- 15th January 2010, 9:18am
After a stellar first season competing in the Swfit Sport Cup in the United Kingdom last year, young Australian rally driver Molly Taylor has been back in Australia over the Christmas break to catch up with family and friends. It hasn't been one big holiday, though, Taylor has been busy organising her 2010 rally program which will see her return to the UK, this time to compete in a Citroen C2.
RallySport Magazine's Carolyn Schonafinger spoke to Taylor about her debut international season and what's in store for 2010.
Congratulations on your results last year. It must have been a great feeling to win your first two events of the year.
Thank you. Yes it was! It was really a jump into the unknown for me so to come out on top was a great feeling and very encouraging.
Apart from the larger fields and the number of different Series’ running as part of the British Rally Championship, how do the BRC events differ from the Australian Rally Championship?
I guess the main difference is the fact that 50% of the Championship is run on tarmac. Additionally, they have such an incredible depth of field, particularly for 2WD cars. On top of that there are three ‘one–make’ series running within the Championship which gives young drivers a real ‘stepping stone’ system to progress through.
As the only female driver in the Swift Sport Cup last year, did that make it harder to gain the respect of the other drivers, or did the fact that you won the first two events put to bed any doubts your competitors may have had?
For sure I think I surprised a few people in the first round, which definitely helped my credibility, but to be honest the gender issue wasn’t really a thought on my mind. I think if I go about my rallying in a professional and committed manner then people will see past gender.
Working with the Monster Sport Europe team must have given you a real insight into life as a ‘works’ driver. What are some of the things you learnt from the team?
It was still far from the life of a works driver but it was a fantastic opportunity to work with a team with WRC resources and experience. I learnt an incredible amount about car preparation as well as how all these teams are put together and managed.
You must have been absolutely devastated to come so close to winning the Swift Sport Cup last year and then fall agonizingly short when your fuel pump failed. How did you cope with the disappointment?
Yes, I was absolutely devastated at first. I remember sitting in the forest, with blood all over my hands (from being a bit too frustrated with a jack!) trying not to cry and the marshals standing around looking a little confused! Despite this, I didn’t let myself stay disappointed for too long. We were the quickest Swift on the day and were leading the rally by 35 seconds. To me this was a more rewarding achievement and what I had spent the year working towards.
This year you’ll be driving a Citroen C2 in the Citroen Racing Trophy. How did the Citroen drive come about and how do you expect the C2 will be different from the Swift?
It actually all started with a phone call from Kevin Shaw back in Australia asking me if I wanted to go over and meet some of his Irish friends and do a rally. Of couse I said yes. After that I serviced for the McCormack family at a couple of events. They then generously offered me the use of their second car this year. I am still pinching myself! The Swift was pretty much a standard car apart from suspension and it was a great entry level car to learn the rallies in. However the Citroen is a purpose built rally car with 192hp, sequential box etc so it will be a big step up for my driving.
The Citroen Racing Trophy will be hotly contested with around £20,000 in prize money up for grabs on each event. Have you had a chance to look at who your competitors will be this year and where do you think your main competition will come from?
Yes, this year there looks to be a lot more competition than last year. Actually, a few guys from the Swift Cup are also making the step up to the Citroens so I think there will be a lot of rivalry from that crowd.
Having already competed on each of the BRC events, you will no doubt enter each event this year with added confidence. Will you have much opportunity for testing between events, and in particular, for the tarmac rallies?
My plan is to contest some tarmac rallies in Ireland in between the BRC events as well as some testing wherever I get a chance. I also have a few testing/training opportunities in February, which I am planning to do as a pre season shakedown.
Moving to the UK last year was obviously a huge step but your results certainly proved it was the right decision. How did you settle in and what did you miss most about Australia?
I think the thing that made it easier was the fact that every day I was getting up and doing something rally related. When you are occupied and working towards a goal every day it made the lonely times a lot easier. Also the rallying crowd over there is very much like back in Australia, everyone is extremely friendly and welcoming and lots of fun to be around. I do miss the comfort of living at home and having my friends just down the road though. Having a month to spend with them over Christmas has really made me appreciate that.
When you head back to the UK this month you’ll start a new job at M-Sport in Cumbria. What will your job entail?
I will be working as a Customer Sales Assistant for the S2000. Seeing the current demand for the cars I think I will be very busy!
You’ve been back in Australia for a couple of months break. How have your spent your time back home?
Most of the time has been spent organising 2010 and putting together the budget. I have been trying to set daily sponsorship targets and sometimes meeting them and sometimes not! Other than that I have been catching up with all my friends and family. I had 6 friends from the UK come out over Christmas/New Year so it was a mad house there for a while.
Your ultimate goal is to compete in the World Rally Championship. Is contesting the Citroen Racing Trophy a quicker way to be recognized for your talent and to make the next step given the fact that Citroen form such an integral part of the WRC?
Being in a strong one–make category is very important to prove your pace and competitiveness. As well as being linked to a WRC manufacturer team, the series is also very strong across Europe and therefore a logical progression into Europe/IRC and WRC in future.
What are you hoping to achieve this year?
My goal is to be setting top stage times by the end of the year. Rather than focus on Championship points, my plan is to develop speed and be the quickest. Through this my goal is also to be nominated for the BRC Pirelli Star Driver Shoot Out at the end of the year.
Good luck in 2010, Molly. You’ve certainly made every Australian rally fan proud with your efforts last year and we wish you all the best.
Thank you very much and I would also like to thank everyone for the incredible amount of support I have received over the year. I am very appreciative of it all and am very lucky to be able to represent Australia.
Visit Molly's website to see how you can help support her 2010 BRC campaign
Photos: Andrew Shepherd and www.cmwi.net
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