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Australian rally driver Molly Taylor will go into her next world rally championship round in Finland with renewed confidence after a shakedown event in Estonia over the weekend.

Despite electrical gremlins causing her Ford Fiesta R2 to cut out on several occasions, Molly posted some very quick stage times, closing the gap on her major WRC Academy rivals and showing her the way to find even more speed on her next outing.

Molly and experienced WRC co-driver Seb Marshall contested the Auto 24 Rally Estonia (July 15-16) as preparation for the third round of the WRC Academy series, which is being run as part of the world rally championship event in Finland over the weekend of July 28-30.

“Obviously having the car cut out when you least expect it is not the ideal way to compete in a rally. We lost a lot of time, but when we were going, we were doing really well,” Molly laughs.

“My aim with this event was to narrow the gap to some of my fastest WRC Academy rivals in terms of seconds per kilometre and we achieved that. We were about half a second per kilometre away from Craig Breen [champion Irish driver] and because we were able to do that consistently, we’re now at a level where we know how to close the gap.

“Everything gelled with Seb too, which was fantastic. This was our first real rally outing together and it’s a very tough call for someone to start with a totally new pace note system on such a fast event, but it all came together really well.”

Molly says they both loved the event, describing the route as fast and technical, and some of the best roads she has ever driven on.

“The roads here are supposed to be very similar to what we will be competing on in Finland, which is why so many of the WRC crews use it as preparation. Aside from that, it was such a great event – good people, great weather! We had so much fun, I even think I could move to Estonia! But I’ll definitely come back to do the event again.”

Despite being fierce rivals during the competition, the camaraderie that exists between the WRC Academy crews was evident at the podium ceremony – a number of them jumped in to help push the young Australian across the finish line after the car stopped yet again.

Molly and Seb are now en route to Finland where they will do some more testing before the WRC round kicks off on July 28.
 
They contested the Estonian event in the Ford Fiesta R2 that Molly has been using for all non-WRC rounds this year. It’s an identical car to the one she and the other 17 WRC Academy drivers use in the Academy cup events.
 
Finland is the third of six rounds the young drivers are contesting as part of a one-make, development series aimed at bringing the best young rally talent in the world to elite levels. Molly is one of six drivers on a fully funded scholarship for the year, covering all her WRC expenses.

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