Subaru returns to rallying after 10-year split

Subaru returns to the Australian Rally Championship after a 10-year absence this year with Molly Taylor at the wheel

Subaru returns to the Australian Rally Championship after a 10-year absence this year with Molly Taylor at the wheel

Molly Taylor will be charged with handling Subaru’s long-awaited return to the Australian Rallying fold.

Recently awarded the CAMS Peter Brock Medal, Taylor will be in charge of a WRX STi NR4 in this year’s Australian Rally Championship.

The car will be prepared by the experienced Les Walkden operation in Tasmania which has a long history with Subaru.

Taylor, the daughter of four-time Australian Rally Champion co-driver Coral Taylor, finished second in the ARC last year.

Long time Subaru Australia managing director and rallying stalwart Nick Senior said Taylor perfectly fitted the image as a competitor and ambassador for the brand.

“She’s got a wonderful attitude, has worked really hard for the opportunity and she’s a glass half-full person, never the victim.

“Then, of course, her performances both here and internationally have been very strong, reinforced by the fact she is the world’s top-ranked female rally driver.

“She’s a perfect fit for the Subaru brand as we move to attract new customers, particularly younger ones.”

Taylor made history last year by becoming the first woman to win a heat of the ARC in Western Australia.

She will face a stiff challenge coming to grips with the heavier all-wheel-drive WRX compared to the lightweight Renault Clio she campaigned last season.

Taylor has compiled a decent dossier of success which has included the British Ladies Champion in 2009, 2010 and the European Rally Championship Ladies Champion in 2013.

“This is a fantastic opportunity and I’m both humbled and excited to be part of Subaru’s new plans to build on their amazing rally heritage in Australia,” Taylor said.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do in testing before the first round in April, but the NR4 is a great car and we look forward to seeing the return of the Subaru rally fans, both new and old.”

Details of the team name and co-driver will be announced at a later date.

After a heavy corporate and team presence, Subaru withdrew from domestic rallying in November 2005 after the slick Subaru Rally Team Australia won its 10th consecutive ARC driver’s title.

SRTA also won eight of the previous 10 manufacturer’s championships, including the last six in a row.

The team also scored numerous class victories in both the World and Asia-Pacific Rally Championships.

Subaru legend, the late Peter ‘Possum’ Bourne won seven championships straight from 1996 to 2002 while Cody Crocker has won the last three (2003-05).

The team will debut at the Quit Forest Rally, Western Australia from April 22-24.

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