Team switch for Subaru's factory Australian rally campaign

Molly Taylor will drive for a new team during the 2019 Australian Rally Championship, as part of a shake-up of Subaru's factory programme.

Team switch for Subaru's factory Australian rally campaign

The carmaker will shift its factory ARC programme away from Les Walkden Rallying for 2019, instead linking up with another Tasmanian-based team in Orange Motorsport Engineering, run by Craig Brooks.

That ends a three-year relationship with LWR, which helped revive Subaru's factory rally presence down under back in 2016 by taking Taylor to a milestone ARC title, the first for a female driver.

A less official link between LWR and Subaru, which covers decades of running Subarus in the ARC and Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, will continue despite the new factory arrangement.

"We’ve had a fantastic three years with LWR, spearheaded, of course, by Les Walkden, who has brought so much to the sport – and of course Subaru – over several decades," said Subaru Australia Managing Director Colin Christie.

“We now look forward to continued success with Craig’s team.

"It’s a hugely competitive landscape since the advent of lightweight, high-speed AP4 and R5 rally cars in the championship, but we figure we can give them a good run for their money this year, which will make it a gripping contest all round – great for the series and fans alike.”

Taylor added: “We can’t thank Les enough for all that we’ve achieved over the last three years and, of course, winning the Championship in our first year, in 2016, was fantastic and will forever remain a highlight of my career.

“Les and the LWR crew were an integral part of that success and we’ve been privileged to work with them.

“Equally, we look forward to working with Craig and his operation to challenge for the championship in a highly-competitive field.

“Tasmanian-based teams have the ingredients to reach the heights, so we’ll be aiming for the stars.”

The 2019 ARC season kicks off with the Forest Rally in Busselton, Western Australia, on the first weekend in April.

That's followed by rounds in Canberra, Launceston, Ballarat and Adelaide before the season finale at Rally Australia in November.

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