Testing Times For Molly As WA Beckons

Wed, 13/04/2016

The Subaru doTM Motorsport team is gearing up for the brand’s factory-backed rally return at the Quit Forest Rally in Western Australia this month (April 22-24).
 
New recruit Molly Taylor has completed more than 250 kilometres of testing on the abrasive gravel roads outside Launceston, Tasmania, and reports the Group N showroom specification WRX STI, prepared by Les Walkden Rallying (LWR), is running faultlessly.
 
The event marks Subaru’s return to domestic rallying in the Kumho Tyre Australian Rally Championship® after an 11-year absence.
 
Molly said: “We’ve had a great test. It was my first time ever driving a brand new rally car.
 
“Combined with the fact it’s a professionally prepared All-Wheel Drive car, it’s an exciting time.
 
“I felt comfortable in the car and our preparation is going very much in the right direction, as it ran faultlessly for two days.”
 
Molly acknowledges the Launceston gravel is very different from the slippery surfaces south of Busselton, WA. 
 
But having competed successfully in the West previously, Molly has some idea of what to expect - along with co-driver Bill Hayes, she won Heat One of the 2015 Quit Forest Rally and placed third in Heat Two, giving the duo second place for the event overall.
 
Last year’s Heat One win made Molly the first female driver to win an Australian Rally Championship round.
 
“We’ll also do a smaller test in WA in the week leading up to the rally, so we can fine tune for local conditions,” added Molly.
 
LWR Team Principal, Les Walkden, said: “We’ve tested all the basics, from brake to suspension settings and our primary objective in WA is to finish that first event and apply the lessons learned.”
 
Chassis specialist David Potter and Finnish engine guru Arto Lehtonen have been assisting with preparation of the WRX STI.
 
Les added: “We’re taking a conservative approach, it’s a long season of rallying and the idea is that we accumulate a lot of knowledge and steadily build on that.”
 
Historically, Subaru has winning form in WA – in the final season for Subaru Rally Team Australia in 2005, Cody Crocker had the perfect start to his season by winning both heats of the Quit Forest Rally.
 
KUMHO TYRE AUSTRALIAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP® 2016
 
Round 1 – Quit Forest Rally WA
22nd - 24th April
 
Round 2 - National Capital Rally, ACT
27th - 29th May 
 
Round 3 – International Rally of QLD
17th - 19th June
 
Round 4 - Rally SA
9th - 11th September 
 
Round 5 – Kennards Hire Rally Australia, Coffs Harbour
18th - 20th November