The top four finish was a credit to the “preparation makes perfect” approach of the team, managed by the respected Les Walkden Rallying operation.
In an indication of the close competition, Taylor was just 33.3 seconds off a third place podium finish.
Reflecting on her start in the Kumho Tyre Australian Rally Championship 2016, Molly said: “It’s been great to get quality time in the car.
“I’ve been used to swapping between several different cars in recent years and after this weekend I realise how awesome it’s going to be to stick with this showroom STI and build experience in this new package.”
Heat Two began last night with a run around Busselton’s Barnard Park, before again going bush this morning in the Nannup forests.
It was straight into the day’s longest stage, the 18.72 kilometre Brockman 1, where Taylor applied many of the lessons learned yesterday on the notoriously marbled surface, with cooler weather aiding the turbocharged cars.
A fourth place on the 17.85 km SS15 was the team’s best of the day, sufficient to lift overall placing to fourth too, where the duo remained for the final two stages.
Subaru Australia Managing Director, Nick Senior, said: “It’s been a fantastic first time out for the team and we’re very happy with the production WRX STI.
“All credit to Molly and Bill – they’ve certainly raised a few eyebrows with their abilities this weekend.
“Les Walkden Rallying have also done an amazing job preparing the car. We’re really looking forward to the next rally.”
Next stop for the Subaru do Motorsport team is Round 2 of the 2016 series, the National Capital Rally, ACT, from May 27-29.
HEAT TWO PLACINGS
1.Evans/Searcy, Subaru Impreza WRX STI, 01:06:44.8
2. Bates/McCarthy, Toyota Corolla S2000, 01:07:26.6, +00:41.8
3. Dowel/Feaver, Hyundai i20, 01:08:45.9, +02:01.1
4. Taylor/Hayes, Subaru WRX STI, 01:09:19.2, +02:34.4
5. Wilde/Clements, Subaru WRXI STI, 01:09:21.7, +02:36.9
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Australian Rally Championship®