The driver Extreme E keeps snubbing

Tamara Molinaro is starring in rallying, contracted to XE but yet to contest an X-Prix. She wants to change that fast

Tamara Molinaro (ITA), Championship Driver

If ever there was a driver hidden in plain sight, it’s Tamara Molinaro. The 24-year-old landed herself a couple more Italian Rally Championship titles last weekend, yet still she warms the Extreme E bench.

How’s that?

Watching the onboards from her Citroën C3 Rally2 this season, Molinaro’s capable, committed and quick. What’s more, she’s got plenty of race experience from time in rallycross. Surely she’s the perfect female solution for an XE outfit. She certainly thinks so.

As the official XE ‘championship driver’, Molinaro has to go to every round and then sit and wait. If anything happens to any of her colleagues, she’s into the car and racing.

“Of course, I’m really grateful to be involved with Extreme E – it’s a fantastic opportunity to be around championship which is so relevant to a sustainable and equitable future for motorsport,” she said.

Molly Taylor (AUS)/Johan Kristoffersson (SWE), Rosberg X Racing

“But I want to drive.

“All of my life I have been around motorsport and rallying and it’s everything to me. It’s a little bit heart-breaking to be sitting in race control and watching everybody else go out and live the dream that I have. But, I tell you this, all the time I am sitting there watching, it’s making me more hungry and more determined.

“When I come [home] from the races, I am remembering this feeling and taking it with me when I go training. I use it like fuel to work harder, to push harder. I know I never drove better than I am driving now. We say in Italy that you have the foot in the door – that’s where I am now. But I won’t stop until I am through the door.”

Molinaro took part in the XE rookie test in Sardinia last month, driving Rosberg X Racing’s car along with 14-time Dakar Rally winner Stéphane Peterhansel.

“That was an incredible experience,” she said. “Driving the car was amazing and I really felt comfortable.

I am doing everything I can and I will do absolutely whatever it takes to try to get to the top and to be the best in XE Tamara Molinaro

“When you’ve been used to big power in rallycross, it’s quite normal to have this. But as well as driving the car, it was such an honor to spend time with Stéphane. He’s a complete legend in this world, so just to be around him and to listen to him and how he was talking about the car and the set-up and things like this was fantastic for me.”

Currently Andretti and McLaren are the only teams to have tied up their driver line-ups for next year, so Molinaro is still hopeful of landing a full-time season two seat.

“I am talking to teams and talking to everybody. I am doing everything I can and I will do absolutely whatever it takes to try to get to the top and to be the best in XE.”

Words:David Evans