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PHOTO: Australian Molly Taylor flies through  the Finnish forest on her way to her best WRC result (Citroen Racing pic)

AUSTRALIA’S Molly Taylor has posted the best result of her career in the FIA World Rally Championship, taking third place in the junior class (JWRC) in Neste Oil Rally Finland last weekend.

The young Sydneysider and British co-driver Seb Marshall battled through a long list of dramas over the four days of the event, known as the ‘Finnish Grand Prix’, because it is one of the toughest and fastest on the WRC calendar. It was round eight of the 13-event 2014 WRC series and round three of the six-event Junior WRC series.

“It’s a dream come true to finish on the podium here and we certainly weren‘t expecting this outcome after what we went through on Friday and Saturday,” Taylor said.

“We thought we were out of the event on two occasions, but despite the punctures and everything else that went wrong, we kept on fighting. I knew we had the potential to be in the top five on the stages and that a podium finish was possible because of the pace we had when everything was going well, and we’ve done it. I always love driving on these roads, so this is a real bonus.”

Taylor described the week leading into the event, and the rally itself, as one of the longest and toughest of her life, but also one of the most rewarding and enjoyable, saying she could probably fill a book just with the experiences from this one event.

“There are so many people to thank who not only helped us make it to Finland, but stuck by when things haven’t been going our way before. I can’t tell you how much it means and how happy I am to have everything fall into place at long last.

“Seb [Marshall] was amazing as always. It’s a pretty awesome feeling when you are flying along insanely fast roads and everything is coming up so fast but you hear every [pace] note exactly when and where you want it.”

Taylor also paid tribute to her team D-Max Racing for their role in the result, saying there were many times when the car came into service with parts pointing in all the wrong directions, but the crew was able to sort it out and get her back into the fight.

The world’s number one female rally driver is running a Citroën DS3 R3T through D-Max Racing in six rounds of this year’s JWRC, after winning the inaugural Ladies Trophy in last year’s European Rally Championship.

Based near Varese in Northern Italy, D-Max manages motorsport programs across Europe for customers driving Citroën rally cars.

Taylor will be back in Australia for the local round of the WRC, Coates Hire Rally Australia (September 11-14), but as a commentator and spectator, not a competitor. The Australian event is not part of the JWRC.

Taylor 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 scholarship in an international shootout between 18 drivers from around the world.

That gave her a fully funded drive in the WRC Academy, a junior section of the World Rally Championship. For the past two years, she and Marshall have contested selected rounds of the European Rally Championship and the WRC, posting several class victories along the way and winning last year’s ERC Ladies Trophy.

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Chris Nixon

Chris Nixon is Media Manager for Kennards Hire Rally Australia.

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