Australian rally young gun Molly Taylor will continue her World Rally Championship preparations this weekend at the Auto 24 Rally Estonia.
Having recently switched co-drivers from Rebecca Smart to experienced WRC co-pilot Seb Marshall, Taylor arrived in Estonia earlier to go through pre-event planning before reconnaissance and the rally itself which kicks off in earnest late Friday.
Competitors will tackle 160km of competitive stages on Friday and Saturday, with Taylor being joined by a host of other teams that will use the event as a shakedown for Neste Oil Rally Finland, the WRC round being run at the end of this month.
Mads Østberg will be driving the new Ford Fiesta WRC while Kris Meeke will have the Mini John Cooper Works WRC in action, up against Markko Martin in an old formula Focus WRC.
“I’m so excited about getting out on some proper forest stages with Seb,” said Taylor.
“From the footage I have seen, the roads look amazing, and apparently they are very similar to the roads we will be using in Finland.
“It’s just ideal to have this opportunity so close to Finland after such a big gap since our last WRC Academy outing in Sardinia in May.”
Taylor and Marshall will be driving the Ford Fiesta R2 that Molly has been using for all non-WRC rounds this year. It’s an identical car to the one she and all the WRC Academy drivers use in the Academy cup events.
Finland is the third of six rounds the young drivers are contesting as part of a one-make, development series aimed at bringing the best young rally talent in the world to elite levels. Molly is one of six of the drivers, including fellow Australian Brendan Reeves, on a fully funded scholarship for the year, covering all her WRC expenses.
She comes into the Estonian rally, and the round in Finland, fresh from a prestigious ‘Driver of the Day’ award at the famous Goodwood Festival of Speed, where she did demonstration laps and took VIPs for rides.