AUSTRALIAN rally driver Molly Taylor is getting into a competition mindset as she prepares for the final round of the 2014 World Rally Championship, Wales Rally GB.
The event, one of her favourites of the international, elite 13-round WRC series, will be held in North Wales over the weekend of November 13-16. It’s the ‘2014 grand final’ for the world’s top rally drivers, and the younger drivers – such as Taylor – who are competing in the junior category of the WRC.
The 26-year-old Sydneysider has been kept extremely busy in both Australia and Europe for the last two months, working hard to fund her drive, and chasing sponsorship. She’s also been raising her profile, having been named as one of three ambassadors in the ‘Rexona #IWILLDO’ campaign, a branded content initiative designed to motivate and assist people in achieving their goals.
The program is spearheaded by AFL star Adam Goodes and also features BMX Olympian and World Cup Champion, Caroline Buchanan. Rexona has also partnered with the Australian Institute of Sport to deliver exclusive content to #IWILLDO participants.
The Rexona social media initiative encourages the general public to join in by setting themself a goal and receiving motivational tips from the ambassadors and the AIS to achieve that aim. Perhaps not surprisingly, Taylor has set herself a goal that she hopes to achieve at Rally GB.
“It’s so exciting to be involved with such a successful brand and with two inspirational athletes,” Taylor says.
“As part of the #IWILLDO Campaign, my goal is to win a stage at Rally GB. We have been close in previous events and finished on the podium at Rally Finland earlier this year, so it is within my reach. Being part of the Rexona #IWILLDO campaign has helped me re-focus on that goal after being away from the drivers seat for a couple of months.”
Taylor won’t have time to hang around in Britain for too long after Rally GB. She’s running a corporate rally drive day in Sydney on November 26 (information and bookings through her website).
“We’ve called it a corporate drive day because it’s a popular event for companies to bring staff as a reward or entertain clients and suppliers. We’ve had groups in the past who have used it as an incentive or a bonding exercise, but it is really open to anyone who is interested in learning to drive a rally car with some instruction – and also experiencing it from the passenger seat during the ‘hot laps’, with me driving.
“I really enjoy doing these days. Seeing people’s reaction to the sensation of driving a rally car will never get old! It’s a real buzz and such an energising atmosphere. It’s all about having fun and learning some new skills along the way.”
Taylor has been running a Citroën DS3 R3T through D-Max Racing in selected rounds of this year’s JWRC, after winning the inaugural Ladies Trophy in last year’s European Rally Championship. D-Max, based near Varese in Northern Italy, manages motorsport programs across Europe for customers driving Citroën rally cars.
The young Australian, who is now officially ranked as the world’s number one female rally driver, 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 last two years, she and British co-driver Seb Marshall have contested selected rounds of the European Rally Championship (ERC) and the WRC, posting several class victories along the way and winning the ERC Ladies Trophy last year.
Wales Rally GB will burst into action with a spectacular opening ceremony staged in Eirias Stadium, Colwyn Bay on Thursday, November 13, before full competition gets underway on Friday. Competitors will cover 306km of timed competition across 23 stages (total rally distance is 1364km) in the Welsh forests before the ceremonial finish in Llandudno – the largest seaside resort in Wales – on Sunday, November 16.
Taylor was third in her class in Rally GB in 2012. Last year, she won a stage and posted a number of top three times on her way to fourth in the highly competitive 2WD class. She also won the Richard Burns Trophy both years. Named for the 2001 World Rally Champion, who died of a brain tumour in 2005, the prestigious and highly coveted trophy is awarded to the highest placed non-priority driver competing in Wales Rally GB.
Pic courtesy of Greg Roslon