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PHOTO: Australians Coral and Molly Taylor (front row, third and fourth from left) get together  with fellow competitors before the JWRC round in Portugal (Citreoen pic).

AUSTRALIA’S daughter/mother rally duo Molly and Coral Taylor have scored their first points in the 2014 FIA Junior World Rally Championship after finishing eighth in the opening round at Vodafone Rally de Portugal on the weekend.

Fourteen JWRC crews in identical Citroën DS3 R3s took part in the event,  part of the WRC fourth round which started on Thursday and finished yesterday in Portugal’s Algarve tourist region.

“It was a tough event with a lot of ups and downs – literally,” Molly reported.

“They were rollercoaster roads and it was a rollercoaster rally for us. There were lots of frustrations, including lack of turbo boost on the very first stage and a puncture and broken rim at the start of a long stage on Day Three.

“Obviously we had to stop and change it and that delay, along with some traffic, made us late for the next stage, so we were hit with a time penalty, but when things were going well, we had some good pace which we were happy with.”

Horrendously wet and muddy conditions during pre-event testing meant the Taylors had no baseline suspension settings for the start and were forced to adjust the car as they competed.

“I think we came up with a good package,” Molly said.

“It’s obviously not ideal to do this during the rally, but the car was always strong and it was great for my own development. I feel like I learnt and improved myself an incredible amount over the weekend.

“We made a few more changes on the last day [Sunday] and after reviewing some in-car camera vision, I could see where I could make some more improvements, which was another step forward and a nice way to finish after a tough day on Day Three.”

Molly, officially ranked as the world’s Number One female rally driver, admitted to mixed feelings about the weekend – frustrated because she wanted a stronger result, but still able to take away many positives.

“Generally things have been pretty good. The pace is incredibly strong and it’s a great environment to be in.

“Working with mum has been really special and it is fantastic to be able to share this with her.

“She’s a pretty cool mum. She did a great job, as you would expect, and I think a lot of people were surprised at how a mother and daughter can work so well together.”

Four-time Australian champion co-driver Coral Taylor said the event was really tough, but tit was priceless to share the adventure with her daughter.

“It was so rough on Day Three, particularly, and then after being delayed with the puncture, we were further delayed by a huge spectator traffic jam,” she said.

“Spectators on the side of the road, even during the liaison sections, waving flags, hats, bottles of beer or plastic chairs in the air as you drive past. Simply amazing!

“The police were amazing too. Hugely supportive, giving rally cars the right-of-way at all intersections and waving us through red lights. It was no problem to them for us to drive on the wrong side of the road when the traffic was heavy.

“It was a tough event, but it was an incredible experience to be part of and I am so proud of Molly and how much she has developed as a driver since I last drove with her back in 2010.”

The JWRC round was won by Frenchman Stéphane Lefebvre, with Germany’s Christian Riedemann second and Slovakia’s Martin Koci third.

The Taylors took four championship points and are confident of increasing the tally when they tackle the next JWRC round in Poland on 26-29 June.

The JWRC calendar also includes Finland (31 July-3August), Germany (21-24 August), France (2-5 October) and Great Britain (13-16 November).

Molly has signed with D-Max Racing, a company based near Varese in Northern Italy, which manages motorsport programs across Europe for customers driving Citroën rally cars.

She won the inaugural Ladies Trophy in last year’s European Rally Championship, in the same model Citroën she is driving in the JWRC.

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Chris Nixon

Chris Nixon is Media Manager for Kennards Hire Rally Australia.