Australian Extreme E driver Molly Taylor is set to return to the FIA World Rally Championship in the all-new four-wheel drive M-Sport Fiesta Rally3 for three gravel outings.
Taylor currently drives for the Rosberg X Racing Extreme E team and she currently leads the championship after winning the opening two rounds against the likes of Sebastien Loeb and Carlos Sainz.
The Fiesta Rally3 is M-Sport Poland’s all-new Ecoboost-powered car developed for the FIA’s Rally3 category and completes M-Sport’s comprehensive Ladder of Opportunity, which offers a car at ever level of FIA’s rally pyramid.
Taylor is returning to M-Sport machinery in the WRC ten years after her WRC debut in the 2011 WRC Academy (now Junior WRC), in an M-Sport-built Fiesta R2 with Seb Marshall as co-driver. She claimed two top-five finishes and a stage win point in the 2011 WRC Academy and is still the only female to date to achieve a stage win in what is now called Junior WRC. During her time in WRC Academy, Taylor also worked at M-Sport for Richard Millener, who is now Team Principal for the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team.
Taylor returned to Junior WRC in 2014, delivering some standout performances, most notably with a podium finish on Rally Finland against some stiff competition. Rally Finland will be a stop on Taylor’s 2021 WRC schedule with Seb Marshall returning to call the pace notes, starting on the fan-favourite Rally Estonia (16 - 18 July). From Estonia, Taylor heads to the demanding stages of Acropolis Rally Greece (9 - 12 September) and the Fiesta Rally3 tour concludes on the legendary gravel roads of Rally Finland (1 - 3 October).
Richard Millener, Team Principal of M-Sport Ford World Rally Team: “We have been working very hard with Molly and various partners for a good few months now and this is a result of a unique collaboration from some of rallying’s key partners. Molly is talented, you only need to look at her recent results in Extreme E to understand that, especially when you look at the competition she is facing in that series. Where Molly really stands out though is her character, she is competitive, very motivated and a true professional. When she sets her mind to doing something you can be rest assured she leaves no stone unturned in her preparation and is just a pleasure to work with. She is exactly the kind of driver M-Sport likes to work with.
“I think it speaks volumes for the Rally3 category and the Fiesta Rally3 that a driver like Molly wants to be part of this category from the very beginning. The three different rallies we have targeted are by no means easy either, with each one presenting their own unique challenges. I’m interested to see how both Molly and the Fiesta Rally3 fare on all three rounds.”
Maciej Woda, M-Sport Poland Managing Director: “We are set for a really exciting run of rallies with Molly and the Fiesta Rally3, she is taking on a good mixture of roads that I think will be a good competitive test for the car and Molly. The list of active Fiesta Rally3 cars is growing week on week at the moment and we are at a stage where everything we need to learn can only be discovered with competitive mileage. WRC events are great for this as they have a lot of competitive miles and I am sure an event like Acropolis will really push the car hard and it helps to get the consistency that we know Molly can deliver. In stark contrast, Finland will be a fast and flat out affair so we will see what the Fiesta Rally3 is capable of when in full attack mode!”
Molly Taylor, M-Sport Fiesta Rally3 driver: “We’re getting the band back together! I’m really excited to have this opportunity and get back to some of my favourite WRC events in Finland, Estonia, and the Acropolis, which has always been on the bucket list. We’ve been working towards this programme for a while, so it seems like it’s been in the distance for so long. You don’t want to get too excited, because you’re always trying to put programmes together, and it’s often that nothing happens. Then it all started to come together, and it looked like it was finally happening. Now it’s coming around really soon, so it’s pretty surreal. It’s exciting to be a part of the beginning of the [Rally3] category and I think, from everything that I see, it looks like a really good package, so I’m really excited to give it a go. When this opportunity with the new Rally3 car came up, I think it was a combination of all the little things that just fell into the right place, and so when the opportunity arose, it was possible to jump at it. I always wanted to get back into the WRC. I feel like it’s been many years of trying to get to an opportunity like this - that I was trying for back in 2012 - but I’ll take it now!”