The 23-year-old Australian drove her own Ford Fiesta R2 - similar to the one she uses as standard in the WRC’s driver-training category - on Rally Oberhere in Germany where she was one of 10 course opening car drivers in action. It followed an asphalt test in Belgium where she received coaching from established Australian driver Neil Bates, who is co-driven on domestic events by Taylor’s mother Coral, and former Junior championship frontrunner Thierry Neuville.
“We had been invited to run as a zero car for Rally Oberhere in Germany,” Taylor explained. “This was a great opportunity to get some extra Tarmac experience before the next WRC Academy events, as both of the next two rallies in Germany and France are Tarmac rounds. There was a huge amount of water on the stages [in Germany], which made it very tricky, particularly as there were lots of long straights and heavy braking into junctions. Although a dry event might have been preferable, I’m really glad to have had the experience of a wet event in case we encounter wet conditions [on] Rallye Deutschland.”
Taylor, one of six Pirelli Star Drivers chasing the WRC Academy Cup this season, admits her preference is for gravel rather than asphalt stages.
“Neal Bates was over for a couple of weeks so it was perfect to have the opportunity to do a Tarmac test with him and we had a test venue available in Belgium organised for us by some friends in Germany,” said Taylor. “I’m normally more comfortable on gravel rather than Tarmac, but the test was excellent and despite my initial apprehension, I really enjoyed getting onto the black stuff and I never thought I would say that!”
She added: “The Tarmac roads over here are very different from anything we have at home [in Australia]. Thierry Neuville also came out to the test, which just happened to be nearby to where he lives and he sat in for a couple of runs as well. The help from Neal and Thierry was really valuable and much appreciated.”
After three rounds, Taylor, who is co-driven by Briton Seb Marshall, is 14th in the WRC Academy Cup standings.