Opinion: Forget the sex, Fast Taylor just wants to drive Car News

Forty years ago in northwestern Italy something truly remarkable happened. Michèle Mouton won the 1981 Sanremo Rally, making her the first (and so far the only) woman to win a WRC event.

The Frenchwoman is a hero for Molly Taylor. She still is to so many others, but Taylor has continued to follow in her footsteps by becoming a trailblazer, as the first (and so far the only) woman to win the Australian Rally Championship, in 2016. Before that, the first woman to win a national overall title was Mouton, who won the German series in 1986.

Taylor continued this pioneering effort by winning the first two races of the inaugural Extreme E series this year, driving the Rosberg X Racing car alongside Johan Kristoffersson.

But you always come back to your first love, and 10 years after her WRC debut (after being selected by a jury including Mouton to be part of the WRC Academy program), Taylor will return, still driving a Ford Fiesta.

Now 33, she had the chance to drive an M-Sport Rally3 machine in three events: Estonia, Greece and Finland.

Rally3 is a new milestone in the rally pyramid, being the entry level four-wheel drive. It’s roughly the equivalent of the old N group.

The de facto Ford factory team is the first company to build a car that meets these regulations, so there is a lot to be done.

Taylor will however be helped by a few familiar faces, including British co-driver Seb Marshall, who accompanied her in her WRC Academy days.

It’s impossible to predict what Taylor can accomplish, considering she hasn’t driven in the WRC for seven years and is heading straight into one of the more competitive fields. But let’s put it this way: she is leading Extreme E against a field that includes Sebastien Loeb, Carlos Sainz and Jenson Button so clearly doesn’t let herself be easily intimidated. And that’s exactly the spirit Mouton displayed four decades ago.

“What Michele did was phenomenal,” says Taylor. “I think she’s a hero to people because of what she did and the times she did it, not just because she’s a woman.”

Ironically, some of the awards Taylor has won in the past were named after legendary men – the Peter Brock Medal and the Richard Burns Trophy, to name just two examples.

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This notice was published: 2021-07-02 05:01:23

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