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Fast female Molly Taylor made it a second win in a row on the Carlisle-based Pirelli International Rally in the UK at the weekend.

Australian Molly and Cumbrian co-driver, Jemma Bellingham, battled stages in the notorious ‘Killer Kielder’ and Kershope Forests in their Monster Sport Europe and Motorsport Insurance Services-backed Suzuki Swift Sport.

The girls left the start at Carlisle Racecourse on Friday evening, for two stages in Kershope Forest. Running later down the field, meant that they would be completing the stages just as it was getting dark.

They didn’t quite get off to the start they’d hoped for, the rough nature of the stages caused them to bend a steering arm which slowed them down. They continued through SS2, determined to get through the tricky stages and back into service. At the end of Leg 1, the girls were lying third in the Swift Sport Cup, but only twenty seconds behind leader, Luke Pinder.

Leg 2 began early on Saturday morning with four stages in the Kielder Forest Complex. In SS5, the girls managed to claw back some time from fellow Suzuki competitor, Richard Sykes, moving into second place. The following stage, SS6, the girls took the lead of the Swift Sport Cup after Luke Pinder crashed out of the rally.

In service Molly commented, “We were all pushing really hard and I was trying not to take too many risks as I knew we still had lots of stage miles still to go. It was a real shame to see Luke off the road, but I had to keep focused. With the fast tricky stages, I had to keep concentrating on the notes and keeping the car neat to avoid the huge ditches!”

Their lead was short lived, though, when Richard Sykes took 2.9 seconds back from them. The girls were then affected by the hold-up when Guy Wilks’ car caught fire. They assumed the rally was over and had settled for second place in the Swift Sport Cup, when the organisers announced they would still run the two final stages of the day in Kershope, so the title was still up for grabs.

Determined to have a good battle with Richard Sykes for the win, the girls set out on SS11 with the plan to push as hard as they could without taking any major risks, however they were given the lead by default as Sykes suffered mechanical problems mid-way through the stage.

“We were genuinely disappointed to see Richard stopped in stage as I was looking forward to comparing our times with him at the finish,” Molly added. “The rally has been a real rollercoaster for us this weekend. We struggled with the rough stages on Friday night, and then we had the battle with Luke and Richard for the win. It’s a huge relief to have finished and to win again. We’ve taken maximum championship points for the first two rounds, which will really help us  for the rest of the season.”

Molly and Jemma won the Swift Sport Cup by 1 minute 16 seconds from David Harrison.

The girls will take to the forest again next weekend on the Betta Somerset Stages in a rallyschool.co.uk backed Nissan Micra. The drive was kindly offered to them by John Goff after they won the first round of the Swift Sport Cup in Wales.


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