The Women of Australian Motor Sport (WAMS) confirms it has submitted the nominations of two Australians for a worldwide women’s cross country rally selection and training program that will eventually see a fully-funded drive offered for the 2016 Sealine Cross Country Rally in Qatar. Australia’s leading female rally star Molly Taylor and USA-based rally co-driver Rhianon Gelsomino have both been put forward by WAMS to the FIA’s Women in Motorsport Commission for consideration.
Taylor, currently racing a dual season in both Australia and Europe, was named the European Ladies Rally Champion and No. 1 Female International Driver in 2013, has finished top-three in the Australian Rally Championship events this year including becoming the first woman to win a heat in the ARC back in April, and is currently second in the driver’s championship.
Meanwhile Gelsomino, the sister of rally drivers Brendan and Nathan Reeves, started racing internationally in 2008 and turned full time co-driver in 2011. The Victorian has spent considerable time co-driving in Rally America and the Australian Rally Championship in recent years, contested the WRC Academy in 2012 and 2013, claimed 2WD Rally America champion status in 2013 and came 2nd in Rally America Super Production last year.
The Qatar rally program was launched worldwide in association with the FIA’s Women In Motorsport Commission (WIMC), thanks to the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) and its President Nasser Al-Attiyah. The opportunity was created to help more women into motor sport, with the selection process ultimately resulting in both a driver and co-driver being offered to compete in the highly competitive Sealine Cross Country Rally next April.
All nominees submitted globally are currently being assessed, with the first stage of selection seeing up to eight drivers and eight co-drivers chosen to attend a five-day training session in Qatar in November 2015. During the camp, the eventual two-woman team will be created.
“There is often more opportunity & spotlight for women in circuit racing but as we saw with the quality of nominations – Australia has some highly talented women. We’ve been really impressed with the calibre of girls from rally and offroading who have put nominations in to us the past few months and we thank every one of them for putting their CVs forward,” said WAMS chair Sam Reid. “It’s great to see that there is a lot of talent across the board, and we have our fingers crossed for both Molly and Rhianon during the selection process.”
The FIA’s Women In Motorsport Commission will make a decision in the coming weeks, with a public announcement made via WAMS’ website and social media channels.