All in place for Taylor’s national rally defence

CALM AND COLLECTED: Australian rally champion Molly Taylor and co-driver Bill Hayes. Picture: Lachlan Bence
CALM AND COLLECTED: Australian rally champion Molly Taylor and co-driver Bill Hayes. Picture: Lachlan Bence

Molly Taylor has dismissed any thoughts of feeling extra pressure going into the Australian Rally Championship as reigning titleholder.

“There’s always pressure.”

While acknowledging it is different starting the new year as champion, Taylor says her approach is the same as always – work hard and hope for a clean run.

She said hopefully this would be good enough for a win, or at the very least a top three three finish.

The second-year Subaru factory driver and co-driver Bill Hayes launch their title defence in Ballarat’s Eureka Rally, which doubles as a round of the Victorian Rally Championship, on Saturday and Sunday.

Taylor said one of the biggest challenges of this rally for all competitors was the new nature of the event.

The 28-year-old said unlike many circuits which were used regularly and well known, this was in unfamiliar territory and there was no previous form to work with .

Drivers will get their first look at the stages on Thursday, with competitors allowed to make two passes.

And to make it all the more interesting Taylor will driving Subaru’s new all-wheel drive WRX STI for the first time in a race.

This means she will be competing in the quicker production rally car class, which allows less technical restrictions than she had last year.

She has spent a few days testing the new set-up in Tasmania, but that is far as her experience in the vehicle extends,

This will be the third year Taylor from Sydney and Hayes, of WA, have teamed up and they are confident they continue to build on what they have already achieved.

Hayes, who has a been co-driver for 17 years, said it was all about timing and ensuring he delivered exactly what the driver wanted, given every driver was different in their style.

Taylor had only a few points to spare over Simon Evans and Harry Bates in last year’s Australian Rally Championship.

She expects Bates and Evans’ brother Eli to be the toughest to beat this weekend.

The rally, which returns to Ballarat for the first time in more than 40 years, will

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