AUSTRALIA will have another crew in the FIA World Rally Championship this year, with daughter-and-mother Molly and Coral Taylor confirmed today for the six-round Junior WRC.
Molly, 25, who is the world’s top-ranked female rally driver after winning the 2013 European Ladies Trophy, will drive a Citroen DS3T for Italian outfit D-Max Racing.
Coral is a four-time Australian champion co-driver and also has extensive international experience.
The Sydney-based pair’s first event will be Rally de Portugal on 3-6 April, with others following at the WRC rounds in Poland, Finland, Germany, France and Britain. The Junior WRC is the main series’ feeder category for up-and-coming drivers and, to contain costs, travels to only selected European venues on the 13-country WRC.
Although its calendar does not include Coates Hire Rally Australia on 11-14 September, Molly is expected to attend the Coffs Coast event to watch her mother co-drive fellow champion Neal Bates in their Classic Toyota Celica.
The Taylors will join Hyundai factory driver Chris Atkinson as Australian representatives on the elite WRC circuit. Atkinson finished seventh in Rally Mexico last weekend and is expected to drive in Rally Australia and selected other rounds.
Still more Australians, including Coffs Harbour’s Nathan Quinn and Adrian Coppin from Canberra, have said they plan to test themselves with one-off WRC entries in Coates Hire Rally Australia.
Rally Australia Event Manager David Catchpole said Australian and New Zealand fans had more reason than ever before to follow the WRC in 2014.
“With New Zealand’s Hayden Paddon set for seven rounds and Chris Atkinson on selected events, both for Hyundai, and Molly doing six, ‘Down Under’ drivers will be contesting up to 11 of the 13 rounds. There will be enormous interest,” he said.
Marketing pressures have seen Molly Taylor part company with long-time British co-driver Sebastian Marshall in closing her new deal.
“He is a first-class co-driver and I will miss having him in the co-driver’s seat. I wouldn’t be where I am without him, but I’m also mindful that to take the next step in my career, I need to be in a position to attract the commercial partners to make this happen,” she said.
“Equally, I’m excited to share this next stage of my professional development with my mother, who has had my back since I first stepped into a car. She is arguably the best co-driver in Australia, plus she has had World Rally Championship experience – and no-one knows me better.
“It has been a very busy four months to get us to this position and I’m really grateful to Michèle Mouton and Fabrizia Pons from the FIA Women In Motorsport Commission and my advisor, Piercarlo Capolongo, who have been instrumental in getting my 2014 program together.”
Coral Taylor is forward to “calling the corners” for her daughter.
“I have admired all the hard work Molly has put into her rally career and I have had the occasional opportunity to compete with her in the past, so I know what she is capable of. I’m really looking forward to Portugal.”
D-Max Racing Team Principal Max Beltrami said signing Molly was a big reward for his young team.
“We want to be ready to fight together with Molly and Coral to achieve the best possible result. We’ve already had a test session with Molly and she immediately found the support of the whole team,” Beltrami said.
Molly moved to Europe in 2009 to build her rally career after winning several class championships in Australia. In 2011, she was one of six young drivers to win a fully-funded entry in the WRC Academy.
Over the past two years, she and Marshall contested selected European Rally Championship and WRC rounds, claiming several class victories and the ERC Ladies Trophy.
The CAMS Foundation, which supports Molly Taylor’s career development, has launched a raffle to help her cover costs. Tickets can be bought at http://mollytaylor.com.au/raffle/.