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Australia’s daughter/mother rally duo, Molly and Coral Taylor, have finished eighth in class after a challenging run in the opening round of the 2014 FIA Junior WRC Championship at Rally de Portugal.

Fourteen JWRC crews in identical Citroën DS3 R3s took part in the weekend event (April 3-6 inclusive), which was run as a sub-category of the World Rally Championship.

“It was a tough event with a lot of ups and downs ­ literally,” Molly laughs.

“They were rollercoaster roads and it was a rollercoaster rally for us! There were lots of frustrations, including lack of turbo boost on the very first stage and a puncture and broken rim at the start of a long stage on Day Three.

“Obviously we had to stop and change it and that delay, along with some traffic, made us late for the next stage, so we were hit with a time penalty, but when things were going well, we had some good pace which we were happy with.”

The horrendously wet and muddy conditions during pre-event testing meant the Taylors had no baseline set-up for the start, so they played around with car settings as they competed.

“I think we came up with a good package,” Molly says. “It’s obviously not ideal to do this during the rally but the car was always strong and it was great for my own development. I feel like I learnt and improved myself an incredible amount over the weekend.

“We made a few more changes on the last day [Sunday] and after reviewing some in-car camera vision, I could see where I could make some more improvements, which was another step forward and a nice way to finish after a tough day on Day Three.”

Molly, officially ranked as the world’s Number One female rally driver, admits being a bit mixed about the weekend. She says she’s a bit frustrated because she wanted a stronger result, but still able to take a lot of positives away.

“Generally things have been pretty good. The pace is incredibly strong and it's a great environment to be in.

“Working with mum has been really special, and it is fantastic to be able to share this with her. She's a pretty cool mum! She did a great job, as you would expect, and I think a lot of people were surprised at how a mother and daughter can work so well together!”

Four-time Australian champion co-driver Coral Taylor says the event was really tough, but that it was priceless to share the adventure with her daughter.

“It was so rough on Day Three, particularly, and then after being delayed with the puncture, we were further delayed by a huge spectator traffic jam. Spectators on the side of the road, even during the liaison sections, waving flags, hats, bottles of beer or plastic chairs in the air as you drive past. Simply amazing!

“The police were amazing too! Hugely supportive, giving rally cars the right-of-way at all intersections and waving us through red lights. It was no problem to them for us to drive on the wrong side of the road when the traffic was heavy.

“It was a tough event, but it was an incredible experience to be part of, and I am so proud of Molly and how much she has developed as a driver since I last drove with her, back in 2010.”

The JWRC class was won by French driver Stéphane Lefebvre, with Germany’s Christian Riedemann in second and Slovakia’s Martin Koci third.

The Taylors took four championship points away for their efforts and are confident of adding to that tally when they tackle the next JWRC round in Poland over the weekend of June 26-29.

The JWRC calendar also includes Finland (July 31-August 3), Germany (August 21-24), France (October 2-5) and Great Britain (November 13-16).

Molly has signed with D-Max Racing, a company based near Varese in Northern Italy, that manages motorsport programs across Europe for customers driving Citroën rally cars. She won the inaugural Ladies Trophy in last year’s European Rally Championship, in the same model Citroën as she is driving for this year’s JWRC.

Photo: www.facebook.com/supespecial

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