Australian rally driver Molly Taylor admits to mixed feelings after finishing the toughest event of her career to date, the Neste Oil Rally Finland.

Molly posted some top seven stage times in the WRC Academy category of the fastest round of the World Rally Championship, finishing ninth outright after a weekend that combined challenge, frustration and exhilaration.

“We had a slow puncture on the very first stage and made the call to keep going, but we eventually had to change it, so we lost a lot of time. We made up ground but not enough.

“Had that not happened and everything else played out as it did, we probably would have finished around sixth, but you can’t think like that. Yes, it was disappointing but you just take what happens and run with it, and looking at the positives from Finland, it’s very clear we have gained pace compared to the first two rounds of the series.

“The encouraging thing is we know what we need to do to get even closer, so that’s what we need to focus on. But, of course, it’s one thing to know what you need to do and another thing to make it happen.”

Molly says the improvement was very obvious in the faster sections of the three-day rally; it was the slower corners where she felt she was struggling, so she now heads to the next round in Germany (ADAC Rally Deutschland, August 18-21) with yet more ‘homework’ to do.

She came into the Finland event having worked hard on her pace notes and says she and new co-driver, experienced WRC co-pilot Seb Marshall, felt the work had paid off. They will continue to fine-tune the system, especially coming into the tarmac event in Germany.

“I have to admit I have some mixed feelings about moving to tarmac since most of my experience is on gravel, but I am actually quite excited by the new challenge.

“I really loved Finland because the speeds were fantastic. I can see why they call it the ‘gravel grand prix’ because it was so fast and so technical. It’s an event which has always been on my wishlist and while it’s a great feeling to have done it, right now I wish I could turn around and do it all over again – but I know how to approach it with more speed!” she laughs.

Molly and Seb are now en route to Germany, along with many of their colleagues from the WRC Academy, with plans to do some tarmac testing as part of preparing for the event.

The WRC Academy is a one-make, development series aimed at bringing the best young rally talent in the world to elite levels. Germany is round four of six WRC events they contest this year. All competitors in the group drive identical Ford Fiesta R2s prepared by Ford’s WRC specialists, M-Sport, with tyres provided by Pirelli. 
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