Subaru Best In West
In a seamless performance Subaru do Motorsport has won both heats of the Make Smoking History Forest Rally, in Western Australia, taking podium honours in Round Two of the CAMS Australian Rally Championship 2017.
Molly Taylor and co-driver Bill Hayes used the ultra-reliability of the Les Walkden Rallying-prepared WRX STI to advantage, bagging maximum points, to provisionally elevate the team to second spot in the championship after two rounds.
After consistent second places on the first three stages of Heat Two, Taylor pounced on SS14 Healthway Loop 1, when Eli Evans rolled his Peugeot, ruling himself out of contention.
Taylor was third on SS14, then second on SS15 Ellis 2 – the day’s longest at 17.85 kilometres.
Interestingly, the team’s margin to first on both SS14 and SS15 was identical, at just 1.6 seconds.
A puncture for Harry Bates’ Toyota Corolla on SS16 demoted him to fourth overall, leaving Taylor with a 22.5 second buffer to second-placed Nathan Quinn’s Mitsubishi Lancer.
The day’s final service saw Taylor and Hayes focused on a consistent final three stages to achieve overall honours.
Third places on SS17 and 18 helped Taylor maintain the lead – which she did over six of the day’s nine stages. A mechanical issue for Bates on SS17 took the Toyota totally out of contention on Heat Two.
Molly said: “Les Walkden Rallying prepared the car perfectly for this weekend and both Bill and I felt like we found a new level, so of course we’re delighted by this result.
“We’ve combined car reliability with our own ability to achieve the perfect result.
“It’s been a fantastic competition with Harry, Eli and Nathan and to come out on top after such a close fight feels great.
“This gives us renewed confidence going into Round Three in Canberra, so look out for some incredible action there!”
Bill, a West Australian, said: “I’ve been rallying here since 1998 and this is the first time I’ve won at my home event, so it’s special in many ways.”
PROVISIONAL RESULTS HEAT TWO – MAKE SMOKING HISTORY FOREST RALLY
1.Taylor/Hayes, Subaru WRX STI, 1:06:41.3
2.Quinn/Searcy, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, 1:06:58.4, +00:17.1
3.Sullens/Newell, Subaru Impreza WRX STI, 1:07:29.1, +00:47.8
CAMS AUSTRALIAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP CALENDAR 2017
Round 3 – National Capital Rally, Canberra, 26-28 May
Round 4 – Lightforce Rally SA 15-17 September
Round 5 – Kennards Hire Rally Australia, Coffs Harbour, 16-19 November