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Two months after the second round of the WRC Academy series, young Australian rally driver Molly Taylor is getting herself set for the next two rounds.

While Neste Oil Rally Finland is still a month away (July 28-30), Rallye Deutschland is in mid-August, and it’s on tarmac, so Taylor is settling into some serious tarmac testing.

Having put the Ford Fiesta R2 she uses in the British Rally Championship into full tarmac spec, the young Sydneysider heads into the Rally of the Midlands this weekend (June 17-18) with the aim of finding out just how a Fiesta performs on a different surface from the gravel rounds of the BRC and the World Rally Championship.

“The event is only about 145km of competition, at different venues like airfields and army bases but, as a round of the British Asphalt Rally Championship, it is all tarmac, so I’m sure there will be some surfaces and road conditions similar to what we’ll have in Germany,” Molly says.

“It’s also a chance to get back in the car before Finland. While I am planning on doing another couple of events before then, there is no substitute for miles in the car to make sure you are match-fit, so doing the Midlands will give me the chance to make sure everything is as sharp as it can be.”

This will be the first time Molly has experienced WRC co-driver, Seb Marshall, calling for her. Last year he worked with British driver Harry Hunt, the pair claiming the Rookie cup in the Junior World Rally Championship and 2WD honours for the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

The young Australian also has an appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed (July 1-3) coming up. She will be taking part in the Forest Rally Stage doing demonstrations and taking some VIP guests for a rides.

“I’ll be there with rally people like Kris Meeke, Dani Sordo, Ken Block, Jimmy McRae and Juha Kankkunen, so I am pretty excited.

“I’m involved with thanks to the International Rally Drivers’ Club, who put my name forward. It is described as the largest motoring and motorsport garden party in the world and it certainly sounds like it will be an amazing experience.

“I don’t know what my schedule will be, but I’m planning on seeing as much of the action as I can, and really soaking up the atmosphere.”

With plenty of famous faces from other motorsport categories on the invitation list, Molly will be in good company. Among them is fellow Aussie, Mark Webber. 

During the ‘downtime’ between World Rally Championship rounds, Molly has been busy with her job at World Rally Championship specialists, M-Sport, and other commitments such as being a member of the FIA Women in Motor Sport Commission.

The group, chaired by former world rally championship driver Michèle Mouton, had its third meeting last week, in Paris. Molly took time off work to fly over for the day but is kicking herself that she didn’t organise to stay for the weekend: “the city looked so beautiful, the little I saw of it!”

Taylor is one of 20 young drivers contesting the WRC Academy, and one of six awarded a fully funded scholarship for the year. The Academy is a sub-series of the WRC, replacing the previous Junior WRC category and designed to give young drivers a solid preparation for competing at the top level. They compete in six rounds of this year’s WRC series, with Portugal (Taylor was eighth) and Italy (DNF) already contested.
 
The WRC Academy competitors all drive identical Ford Fiesta R2s prepared by M-Sport, with a Pirelli control tyre.
 
More information on Molly can be found at <http://www.mollytaylor.com.au>

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