SUBARU DO SEEKS SA ADVANTAGE
Subaru do Motorsport is preparing to apply the pressure as the domestic rally season reactivates next weekend at the Lightforce Rally South Australia.
Just three point separate Subaru do’s Molly Taylor from leadership of the CAMS Australian Rally Championship after three rounds.
With Harry Bates on 195 and Taylor on 192, the stage is set for a huge tussle between the top two, with only one event remaining after SA.
And with Bates due to debut a new car in SA, Taylor says the time is right to apply the pressure and pounce – and go better than last year’s second place in SA.
Subaru do’s Les Walkden Rallying (LWR)-prepared All-Wheel Drive WRX STI Production Rally Car (PRC) is a known, consistent performer and Taylor believes this is a distinct advantage going into the combination of shire tracks and forest stages around Mount Crawford, SA.
Molly said: “LWR have had time to ensure the WRX STI is in peak form and we think our familiarity with the car puts us in a strong position going into South Australia.
“The pressure’s on Harry to maintain the top spot, so we’re keenly focused on winning all the one percenters that present over the course of a weekend and that can cumulatively mean a lot.”
Lightforce Rally is unique on the domestic rally calendar with the inclusion of four night stages, on Saturday’s Heat 1, making preparation for Taylor and co-driver Bill Hayes all the more essential.
Molly said: “The night stages present a unique challenge compared to the rest of the season and probably require even greater precision in our paces notes. That’s where the value of recce can’t be discounted.
“Those stages are super fast in places and there are a number of crests – which become blind crests at night – so you need to account for how things will appear at night versus in daylight.
“There are some spots where we might be decelerating from 200 km/h into a junction, so trying to pick braking reference points is essential.”
Molly has used down-time in the season valuably: a visit to the U.S.A. included a stop-over at Vermont SportsCar, which prepares the cars for Subaru Rally Team U.S.A., including the WRX STI for Australian Chris Atkinson, who competes in the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship.
Molly described her visit as a “huge education” and came away with many ideas and initiatives to apply in her ARC campaign.
In July, Taylor and Hayes also took the Subaru do Motorsport WRX STI to victory in round three of the Tasmania Rally Championship, for the second consecutive year. The duo used the event for valuable testing in the national series off-season.
Saturday’s Heat One of Lightforce Rally SA covers eight stages over 111.41 competitive kilometres. It kicks off with four afternoon stages, including the day’s longest – Crawford 1 and 2 at 18.20 km. The four evening stages start at 6.24pm and the action ends with 9pm Service.
Sunday’s Heat Two features six stages over 93.80 km, including the weekends longest the 19.65 km Corryton Park 1 and 2.