Molly Taylor will become the first female Australian driver to contest the Dakar Rally in January after teaming up with the South Racing Can-Am factory team.
Taylor, who is currently leading the Extreme E standings with RXR team-mate Johan Kristoffersson ahead of the final round in the UK next month, made her first rally-raid start on the Baja Aragón earlier this year, finishing fifth alongside experienced co-driver Dennis Zenz.
She then competed in last month’s Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, taking her South Racing Can-Am to ninth in class.
Taylor, who will be navigated by Dale Moscatt, said the Dakar Rally had always been on her bucket list.
“I am very excited for it because it’s a dream come true for me and it’s one of those things that I have always wanted to do for my whole life,” Taylor told Motorsport Australia.
“A few years ago, I would have never really considered doing off-road racing, and just like the rest of my career, it’s a pathway that has happened through different opportunities leading into other opportunities.”
Having been part of the inaugural season of Extreme E, Taylor said her experience in the all-electric off-road series has enabled her to target rally-raid as an extension to her racing activities, which primarily lie in stage rallying.
“I guess Extreme E has been the catalyst for my off-road career and my spot at Dakar because ever since I started that, I wanted to do more and then an opportunity presented itself with [team principal of South Racing] Scott Abraham and South Racing.”
South Racing is one of the biggest teams in the SSV/T4 class and won the Dakar Rally this year with Francisco ‘Chaleco’ López Cortado and Juan Pablo Latrach (pictured below).
The team also ran five crews in the car category, with Sebastian Halpern and Eduardo Pulenta finishing ninth overall, and WRC2 driver Marco Bulacia and Eugenio Arrieta finishing 14th.
With two competitive rally-raid outings behind her in 2021, Taylor is hoping her experience of the recent Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge will pay off for the Dakar itself.
“I had an incredible experience in Abu Dhabi,” she added. “I have never seen dunes like that before and I had so much fun. It was a similar course to Dakar which was helpful.
“Of course, I know Dakar won’t be all sunshine and rainbows, but I am really looking forward to it and I am sure it’s going to be an amazing experience.”