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Australian rally driver Molly Taylor is pleased with her pace after last weekend’s Rally of Scotland, having set some of the fastest times in her class.

While the 23-year-old Sydneysider and British co-driver Seb Marshall did not finish the event, courtesy of a broken control arm bolt, they were in a close battle for first in their class.

“I am really happy with what we achieved in this event,” Molly says.  

“Obviously we’re disappointed not to finish, but the idea was to drive as fast as we could, get some more miles under our belts and battle with the top guys in our class, and we did all of that.

“The conditions were very tricky – rough, slippery, definitely not easy – but it was the most fun I’ve had in conditions like that, and it was great preparation for the last Academy round in Wales next month [Rally GB, November 10-13].”

Molly and Seb were second in class and 21st outright, when the control arm bolt snapped 18km into a 25km stage, the final forest stage of the event. As a result, the drive shaft pulled out and they lost all drive, which they discovered when they turned into a corner and couldn’t drive out.

“But we did what we wanted to do. Our goal was to increase our pace against the other Fiesta drivers, and we were right up there. We were in second, but the gap to first was very close. However the main thing is that we were on the pace – now we have to take that speed, and the confidence we’ve gained, into Rally GB.”

The final round of this year’s world rally championship is also the final round of the WRC Academy, the one-make junior driver development series Molly has been contesting all year. But she is not prepared to leave the Scottish event as her only preparation in the lead-up to this crucial event.

“Rally Spain is on this weekend and if all goes to plan, I want to do the reconnaissance over there for some more experience. Then, the week before Rally GB, I have another meeting of the FIA Women & Motor Sport Commission in Paris. I’m going to go to Europe a few days before the meeting and do some more training at Vittorio Caneva's rally school in Italy.”

Molly spent two days with Caneva in the lead-up to the WRC round In France. He is well known in European rallying circles, having fine-tuned the skills of Kris Meeke, Guy Wilks and Xavier Pons. Wilks was one of the competitors in Scotland last weekend, along with other well-known international drivers such as Alister McRae, Toni Gardemeister, Toshi Arai and Fumio Nutahara.

They were among 40 entrants who lined up for the three-day gravel contest, which was the penultimate round of the hotly contested 11-event Intercontinental Rally Challenge series. Featuring some of the fastest and most spectacular roads on the IRC calendar, Rally of Scotland started at Stirling Castle and finished at Scone Palace, where the kings of Scotland were crowned in centuries past.

Molly and Seb drove a Ford Fiesta R2 in the Scottish event, identical to the model that all the WRC Academy competitors use. The Academy cars are prepared by Ford’s WRC specialists, M-Sport, with tyres supplied by Pirelli. Molly is one of six drivers in the Pirelli Star Driver programme, which has provided a fully funded scholarship for this year, covering all her WRC expenses. 
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