Subaru do Motorsport team will go into this weekend’s Kennards Hire Rally Australia with sights firmly set on back-to-back CAMS Australian Rally Championships.
A mature drive in the penultimate round of the season, Lightforce Rally SA, elevated the Subaru do duo of Molly Taylor and co-driver Bill Hayes into a Championship leading position in their Production Rally Car (PRC) class All-Wheel Drive WRX STI.
Now with a 30 point advantage, following their second-place in South Australia, Taylor and Hayes are fully focused on achieving their second consecutive title in the Les Walkden Rallying (LWR) prepared turbocharged car.
While there are several points permutations, the most feasible scenario is that if Taylor and Hayes finish top three across the three days, their second Championship would be in the bag.
The only real contender is Nathan Quinn, in his Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IX, following the failure of Harry Bates’ new Toyota Yaris AP4 on debut in SA – and the latter has since cashed in his ARC chips for 2017 by focusing solely on the WRC class in Coffs Harbour.
Taylor said: “As we found last year, Rally Oz can be brutal on cars and crews, so our physical and mental preparation is essential if we’re to achieve our goal.
“We know we’ve got a hugely reliable car and that’s really important over three days, as opposed to the usual two at every other round.
“We’ve got the advantage after four rounds of being ahead of where we were at the pointy end of the season last year, but we certainly can’t afford to be complacent.
“Coffs Harbour is Nathan’s home town and that’ll inspire him to do his best.
“The AP4 cars driven by Harry Bates and Eli Evans will also be out to prove their ability after false starts and fails to finish in earlier rounds, even though Harry’s ruled himself out of ARC contention.
“Everyone wants to impress on the world stage in front of the biggest crowds of the season.
“Our job is to avoid distractions, maintain our discipline and stay on the podium across the weekend. Only then can we relax.”
31 cars will contest the ARC class at Rally Australia, which starts on Friday with the first leg covering eight stages, across 113.42 competitive kilometres.
Saturday’s Leg Two covers a further eight stages over 140.27 kilometres.
The event wraps on Sunday afternoon after five more stages across 64.64 kilometres.
Total competitive distance is 318.33 km.