Molly’s enjoying the wild ride

WHEN Molly Taylor competed at her first national level event on the Sunshine Coast in 2007, she couldn’t have imagined the road she would travel during the next decade.She’s raced against the world’s best, been labelled the globe’s fastest female rally driver, tasted success on the Australian scene and proved an inspiration to prospective racers.But with family heavily involved in the sport, there was always a chance she would follow in their footsteps.

Molly Taylor
Molly Taylor

“I definitely grew up around the sport, watching my parents (Mark and Carol) compete,” she said.

“They’ve been incredible role models for me and to be able to learn from them has been fantastic but it’s something they never pushed.

“I think it would have been a lot easier if I decided to play tennis or something like that…but they’re happy I found what I love doing and that I’m able to do it.”

Taylor has reached some significant milestones since 2007.

Some successful campaigns in Europe allowed her to earn a berth as the only female driver in the World Rally Championship in 2011, when she claimed two top-five results.

She also won the inaugural Ladies European Rally Championship and claimed a podium position in a world junior event.

“They were fantastic experiences and I learned a lot,” she said.

Taylor returned to Australia last year to become the first female to win a heat of the Australian Rally Championships, in Western Australia, en route to receiving the Peter Brock Medal for her feats in the sport.

Now, the 28-year-old is eager to over-achieve in this year’s ARC.

She’s been tasked with helping Subaru re-emerge as a force in the series after its decade-long absence.

She’s got a slick-looking car, decorated in a Sunshine Coast triathlon theme for this weekend’s International Rally of Queensland, but the WRX STI doesn’t boast many of the modifications her rivals have.

Still, she finished third in the opening round in New Zealand.

“We’re really happy with that and it just shows how strong the car is,” she said. “I’m definitely looking forward to consolidating that in Queensland.”

There are testing conditions forecast.

“When it’s wet it’s like ice (here) so if it is raining it’s going to be a real challenge,” she said.

Taylor is the only full-time professional rally car driver in Australia but she had never intended on being a beacon for women in the sport.

“That’s not something that really crossed my mind,” she said. “When I started competing I just really enjoyed it and wanted to get better at it.

“I just love what I do but (this year) competing in an official capacity, there are many young girls out there seeing that and seeing what’s possible for women in sport.”