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Subaru do Motorsport achieved a hard fought third* place in the Make Smoking History Forest Rally in Western Australia this weekend, after overnight tweaks to the team’s WRX STI paid huge dividends. Fourth place on Heat 2 was sufficient to secure the podium place based on points accrued from both heats. With inconsistent braking performance ironed-out overnight, Molly Taylor and co-driver Malcolm Read, showed renewed confidence in the turbocharged All-Wheel Drive Production Rally Car (PRC) class Subaru, prepared by Les Walkden Rallying. In the second round of the 2018 CAMS Australian Rally Championship, Taylor and Read started Heat 2 last night with a fifth place on the 5.28 kilometre run through Barnard Park, Busselton. Back in the forests outside Nannup this morning, the pair rocketed to third on SS12, the 17.46 km Brockman 1. Fourth on SS13 took them into morning service in fourth overall, with Harry Bates’ Toyota Yaris again dominating the action. Three more stages ahead of midday service produced minor drama close to the end of SS16 Brockman 2, when the rear driver’s side suspension arm on the WRX STI was damaged, apparently after striking a rock. However it only cost the duo around 10 seconds and the LWR crew were able to rectify the issue in service.

Molly Taylor took a podium place in the factory Subaru WRX STI. Photo: Subaru

This afternoon’s final three stages produced improving sixth, fifth and third places respectively, again demonstrating the improved performance. Molly said: “It’s great to be back on the podium – a first time for Malcolm since he joined the team! “We picked up a lot of pace today after the LWR crew made a couple of tweaks last night. “That gave us a lot more confidence, which was reflected in our improved times today. “We had one scary moment when a big kangaroo went in front of us on this morning’s second stage, but fortunately we missed it, unlike our last encounter in Ballarat. “All-in-all, we kept it clean this weekend and the points help build our Championship momentum going into Canberra.” Tomorrow (April 30) marks the 15th Anniversary of the passing of late Subaru rally legend Possum Bourne and in tribute to his significant achievements, Malcolm Read was sporting a Possum-inspired moustache over the weekend. A fellow Kiwi, Malcolm said: “Possum was a legend in New Zealand, just as he was with the rally community here, so this was my own small way of recognizing one of the greats.” Bourne was a seven-time consecutive Australian Rally Champion with Subaru from 1996 to 2002. He was also a five-time winner of Forest Rally in WA.  MAKE SMOKING HISTORY HEAT 2 PROVISIONAL RESULTS (*subject to CAMS final confirmation)
  1. EVANS/SEARCY, Skoda Fabia R5, 1:04:15.3
  2. BATES/MCCARTHY, Toyota Yaris, 1:05:01.1, +00:45.8
  3. GLENNEY/SARANDIS, WRX STI, 1:05:37.9, +01:22.6
  4. TAYLOR/READ, WRX STI, 1:06:17.4, +02:02.1
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