Monday, 28 April 2014

Maria Cristina Rosito


Maria Cristina in 2011

Brazil’s Maria Cristina Rosito is probably best known for her exploits in Formula 3 in the 2000s. She has raced in multiple motorsport disciplines since the 1980s, in South America, and has been one of the foremost female drivers both there, and in the world, for much of that.

She was born in 1966,  and even before she began her motorsport career, competition was a big part of her life. As a junior, she swam competitively and raced motorcycles and bicycles, before turning  to karting in 1981. She won multiple local and Brazilian junior championships in all of these disciplines, sometimes alongside her sister, Maria do Carmo. Maria was also a junior women’s motorcycling star, but retired in 1978. They were both supported by their father, Raffaele Rosito, who raced cars himself.

After some years spent switching between cycling, motorbikes and karting, depending on finances, she seems to have moved into senior circuit racing in 1983, shortly before her 17th birthday. She drove saloon cars in long-distance events, usually around Rio Grande do Sul, her home region, but sometimes further afield. Her car was a Fiat 147. That year, she was third in the Tarumã 500km, and also drove in the 12 Hours of Interlagos, both in the São Paulo district. In 1984, she continued to race the Fiat, taking part in the Itali Cup for Italian cars.

In 1985, she made her first attempts at single-seater racing, interspersed with some karting. She entered the Brazilian Formula Ford championship. One of her competitors appears to have been Gil de Ferran, but her results are proving hard to track down. She also drove in two rounds of the South American Formula Two championship, presumably in Brazil, but did not score any points.

A couple of quiet seasons followed. Knowing Maria Cristina’s early racing history, it is not unfeasible that she returned to motorcycle racing or karting, perhaps while gathering funds. However, she re-emerged in 1988, carrying on where she had left off. Her Fiat had been exchanged for a Volkswagen Passat for the Brazilian Drivers and Manufacturers’ Championship. This move paid off; she won her first big race this year, the Tarumã 500km, driving alongside Paulo Hoher. The duo were also second in the 3 Hours of Guapore, fifth in the 3 Hours of Tarumã, and eighth in the Guapore 500km. In the Regional series, they won a race at Tarumã, and were second in another.

Her success in touring cars was supported by success in single-seaters, too: she won the Gaúcho Formula Ford championship, for drivers from Rio Grande do Sul. One of her most noteworthy achievements this year was winning two races in one day, at different tracks, in different categories.

Between 1989 and 1991, she seems to have concentrated on touring cars, maintaining her partnership with Paulo Hoher. In 1989, they won the regional championship, before Maria Cristina moved on to the Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ Championship in 1990, still in the Passat. She raced at least once with Neco Torres. Her 1991 co-driver for this series is unknown, and actual results from this period are not forthcoming.

By 1993, she was back in a single-seater, racing a Formula Chevrolet at Guapore, where she was seventh, ahead of Bruno Junqueira. She may also have raced in this category in 1992. Her activities for most of the mid-1990s are uncertain, and she may have taken some time out of motorsport completely, as some articles mention one or two breaks from competition. In 1995, she is mentioned as having taken part in Formula Hyundai Femenina in Argentina, a women-only saloon racing series. However, no results for this championship have come to light. In 1997, she returned to the Gaúcho Drivers and Manufacturers’ Championship with Airton Diehl, although her race results are, again, proving elusive.


Suzane Carvalho and Maria Cristina, racing in Formula Chevrolet

After some possible time on the sidelines, she appears on entry lists once more in 1999. She won two races of another women-only series, the Campeonato Women Corsa. This championship was organised by Maria Helena Fittipaldi, during her tenure as a senior official for AMPACOM, the Brazilian women racing drivers’ association. The final result of the championship has been unfortunately lost, although it is known that there was some controversy around how identically-prepared the 1.6 GM Corsas used in the races were.

The following year, 2000, Maria Cristina got back into a single-seater, this time a Formula 3 machine. She entered the South American Formula 3 championship, running in the Light category, and was eighth overall. She also drove in two rounds of the main Formula 3 championship, at her favoured track of Tarumã, with the Avallone team. She was fourteenth and fifteenth in her two races. As well as her modest F3 achievements, she showed she still had the strength for endurance racing, by winning the 12 Hours of Tarumã in a VW Spyder. She was part of a four-driver team with Decius Dornelles, Paulo Sérgio Pereira and Bertuol.

There was no Formula 3 for her in 2001, but, showing her usual willingness to race almost anything, she entered the Campeonato Brasileiro Ford Fiesta Feminino, a women-only one-make series for Ford Fiestas. It was, again, organised and fronted by Maria Helena Fittipaldi and AMPACOM, and had tighter technical rules than its predecessor. Many of the 1999 Corsa racers came back, and Maria Cristina was among the fastest straight away. She won the championship.

In 2002, she stuck with saloon competition, and entered the Brascar Championship. She was competing as a single driver, and is known to have finished eighth in the Curitiba race. However, even the details of her car seem to have been forgotten. Her 2003 Brascar season is better-documented: she drove a Volkswagen Spyder in the Sports Prototype class, with Marcus Peres. They finished strongly throughout the championship, and were runners-up at the end of the season. They won at least two races, at Londrina and Curitiba.

After a break of three seasons, she returned to Formula 3 in 2004. As in 2000, she entered both the Light and main classes of the Sud-Am championship, but this time, only did two races in each. She was driving for the Dragão Motorsport team and competed in the two Tarumã races, finishing the first one in ninth place. She did not finish the second. This was just enough to get her sixth place in the Light category.

After this adventure, Maria Cristina’s career seems to enter another quiet period. For the next couple of years, she did some sportscar racing, including a run in the 2007 Gaúcho Endurance championship, driving for Nelson Piquet’s Piquet Sport team. In 2010, she did at least one round of the Gaúcho Endurance championship, at Velopark, driving a Ford Fusion. Her team-mate was Andersom Toso. In between, she competed in drag racing, winning at least some class awards in 2008 and 2009.

She returned to full-time competition in 2011, this time, in truck racing. She drove for the DF Ford team in Formula Truck Brazil, alongside team-mate Danilo Dirani. Unfortunately, she was not among the front-runners, and finished the season 21st overall.

She went back to sportscars for one guest appearance in 2012, driving a Ginetta G50 for Manelão Competições in the Brazilian Endurance Championship. The following year, she did some guest runs in Sprint Race in Brazil. 

This seemed to have been her last competitive outing, at the age of 46, but she came back again in 2015, to do some racing in the Brazilian Sprint Race series. 


(Images from www.downforce.com.br and blogs.estadao.com.br)


Monday, 21 April 2014

Liesette Braams


Liesette with the GT4 BMW

Motorsport has long been a big part of Liesette’s life, being married to racer Luc Braams and mother to racer Max Braams. The Las Moras team is run by the Braams family, with Liesette in a senior role. It is therefore not surprising that she took the wheel herself - more of a surprise that she waited so long (she was 36 when she began racing). Her first car was a BMW 120d, in which she did her first races in 2007. Luc started competing at the same time, with Max coming in a little later.
She joined up with the Verschuur team in 2008, who were working with Las Moras. They were competing in the Dutch Toerwagen Diesel Cup, still in a 120d. Her team-mate was Sacha Broer. She was 59th overall in what was effectively her debut year, but still ahead of her team-mate. In the off-season, she joined up with Sheila Verschuur and Luc Braams for the Dutch Winter Endurance Championship. She was 15th overall after five races, behind Sheila but ahead of Luc.
Liesette joined the satellite Mad and Darring team for 2009, still driving a 120d in the Diesel Cup. Her new partner was Gaby Uljee, another Diesel Cup returnee. This season, she was much faster, and closer to the pace of the leaders. The pair scored two podium finishes at Assen, two fastest laps, and were seventeenth and eighteenth overall (Liesette was 18th).
Another run in the Winter Endurance Championship gave her tenth overall, just behind team-mate Duncan Huisman. They were driving one of the Verschuur 120ds. For a change, she also drove a Volkswagen Golf in the VW Endurance Cup in the Netherlands, for three races. For the first time, Liesette, Luc and Max drove as “Team Braams”. They were 32nd overall.
Liesette returned to the Diesel Cup in 2010, a much improved driver. Driving a Verschuur BMW 123d, she achieved her first win, as well as an additional podium place, two pole positions and two fastest laps. She was sixth in the final standings. Her team-mate was Gaby Uljee once more.
After a couple of races in the Winter Endurance series, she started her fourth Diesel Cup season in 2011. Her car was still a BMW 123d, one of the Verschuur cars, but running as the “Techno Marine” team. She gained a new team-mate in Paulien Zwart, an experienced saloon racer who was returning from a year out due to pregnancy. Liesette was not at her 2010 race-winning pace, and she was thirteenth overall, with Paulien fourteenth.
During the 2011 season, Liesette took part in her first 24 hour race, the Toyo Tyres Series event at Barcelona. She shared a Verschuur 123d with Paulien, plus British drivers Paul Follet and Terry Flatt. They did not finish.
Early in 2012, she teamed up with Paulien, Gaby, Sandra van der Sloot and Sheila Verschuur as the "Dutch Racing Divas", for the Dubai 24 Hours. They were 39th and fourth in class, driving a Renault Clio. The team was the project of Sandra van der Sloot, and was supported by Las Moras.
For most of the year, Liesette drove a BMW 123d for Las Moras in the Burando Production Open championship. She and Sheila Verschuur were back to championship-challenging pace and were fourth overall, after winning three times. This year, Liesette tried out a few different cars: the 123d, the Clio, the 120d she was used to, and a Suzuki Swift. She used the 120d in a couple of rounds of the Dutch Supercar Challenge, and was seventh in class. In the Swift, she made two guest appearances in the Formido Swift Cup.
The Racing Divas reformed for the Dubai 24 Hours in 2013. They drove a BMW 320D supported by Team Schubert, with Liesette as the named lead driver. They were 26th overall, and won the A3T class. Despite this small success, they seriously struggled for sponsorship, and consequently track time, in 2013. Liesette left the team and pursued her own racing interests.
After the Dubai 24 Hours, Liesette drove for Las Moras in the Burando Production Open again, in the BMW. She was eighth overall. She did not manage to win this year, but put in two fastest laps, and ran quite close to the front. As a consolation, she won the Ladies’ award in the BMW Sports Trophy, which takes into account various racing series. She was seventh overall in the Trophy. This followed her most successful run in the Winter Endurance Championship, in which she was third. In a different BMW, she and her team-mates, Cor Euser, Hal Prewitt and Dirk Schulz, won their class at the Hungaroring 12 Hours. They were tenth overall.
Sticking with Eastern Europe, she also took part in the Lotus Ladies' Cup, finishing fourth behind her team-mate, Sheila Verschuur. Her best result was second, at the Hungaroring. The duo were running in Las Moras Elises, and led a small Dutch invasion of the hitherto Eastern European-dominated championship. Mid-season, she did a guest race in a Lotus for a Dutch GT4 championship, too.
For 2014, Liesette teamed up with Bonk Motorsport for the Dubai 24 Hours, driving a BMW M3. She and her team-mates were 40th overall, fourth in class. In the same series, Liesette was part of a team with Michael Bonk and Axel Burghardt for the 12 Hours of Italy, at Mugello. They were tenth overall in the BMW.
She also registered for the European GT4 Championship, in a Las Moras BMW M3 GT4. She and her team-mate, Rob Severs, were front-runners from the start in the "Am" class, finishing their first race, at Misano, in second, and winning the next one, the following day. They secured three more wins, at Zandvoort and the Nürburgring, and were championship runners-up. 
She took part in the Burando Production Open again, driving a BMW 123d. She won Class III at least twice, and was one of the front-runners for the class championship. 

For the first part of 2015, Liesette's year looked promising. She won her class in the Dubai 24 Hours, driving a Las Moras BMW M235. She was part of a Racingdivas team with Sandra van der Sloot, Gaby Uljee and Max Partl, a male driver. They were 23rd overall. Driving for the Bonk Motorsport team, Liesette then won her class again in the Mugello 12 Hours, in the same car. She was 29th overall, as part of a four-driver team.

Unfortunately, she had to sit out the rest of the season, after being diagnosed with cancer, and undergoing treatment. 

In 2016, she managed to return to the racetrack, as her treatment had concluded. She started the year with the Dubai 24 Hours, and was third in the Cup 1 class in a BMW 235, run by Bonk Motorsport. Later in the season, she raced in the GT4 European Series, in a Las Moras BMW M3. Her best finish was fifth in the Am class, at Zandvoort. She was eleventh in the championship. 
(Image from www.autosport.nl)

Friday, 18 April 2014

Women's Races in the USA in the mid-20th century


Members of the WSCC with a Porsche 550

Women’s races have long been a part of American club and national-level motorsport, on both oval and road courses. This is in spite of some quite open prohibition on women’s participation in motor racing. For example, the American Automobile Association, the main motorsport body of its time, explicitly barred women from its sanctioned competitions in 1909. This was after the efforts of Joan Newton Cuneo to compete in its events, from 1905 onwards. Although Joan was not banned from entering, she was prevented from completing certain parts of race routes, for spurious safety reasons, thus disqualifying her from various awards, and was never invited to join the club itself, despite being an active and skilled driver.

The AAA’s influence over motorsport continued until 1955. Its rules about women were relaxed somewhat, but they were still prohibited from major competitions. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the most prominent US racing venue, did not even routinely allow women into the pit lane until the mid-1970s, let alone take part in races. Denise McCluggage, working as a journalist, did much to challenge that.

So, it is quite surprising to learn, that despite a backdrop of sometimes open hostility, women’s races were regularly organised in the 1950s and 1960s. Many of them were part of SCCA meetings, and they ran in various parts of the country, but mainly on the East and West coasts.
The women’s races at the Nassau Trophy, although not part of the SCCA, were entered by the same group of drivers.

At first, these races were very short, run as multi-class events and did not always have their entry lists published. They followed on from a longer tradition on short-track ovals, where such races were disparagingly referred to as “Powder Puff Derbies”. That name itself came from the unofficial title given to the 1929 Women’s Air Derby air race.

The drivers in these early-1950s events were normally the wives, partners or occasionally, daughters of male drivers taking part in the same meeting. For example, of the competitors in the Ladies’ Race at Elkhart Lake in July 1950, only one, Sally Chapin, the winner, was not driving her husband’s car. (It was a Healey Silverstone belonging to Jim Kimberly, who helped to start the circuit that year). This meant that the women drivers did not usually get the chance to run in the main events, as their cars were in use.

The cars themselves were usually small sportscars or saloons, with Porsches and Jaguars being quite common. The Porsche 356 and 550 were particularly popular. There were no single-seater (open wheel) races held for women, or not on any major circuits.

As time went on, a number of Ladies’ race entrants did so in their own cars. Margaret (Peggy) Wyllie sometimes competed in her husband’s Jaguar C-Type or XK140 in the early and middle 1950s, but at least as often, drove her own MG TC or XK120 in both Ladies’ and other events. Later on, she shared a Lotus IX with her husband, and eventually, they competed together in races such as the Sebring 12 Hours in 1956, in the Lotus.

In 1956, Betty Shutes appears on the scene. From the beginning, she owned her own Porsche 356, and raced it in Ladies’ races, and also SCCA Stock and Production races. In 1957, she upgraded the 356 to a 550, after trying one out belonging to Stan Sugarman. The following year, she started winning regularly in Ladies’ races, and she was almost unbeatable in them in 1959. She continued to win Ladies’ races until 1961, by then in a Porsche 718. If there had been an organised Ladies’ championship, she would have won at least two.

Betty Shutes was one of the early members of the WSCC - the Women’s Sports Car Club, which existed from at least 1958, and sought to promote female participation, both in actual competition, and through marshalling, timekeeping and other active support roles. It also provided a social network for women drivers, who were not always included in mainstream motor clubs.

For some, the ladies’ races put on by the SCCA were enough to keep them going. However, some drivers were far more ambitious, and set their sights on not only mixed SCCA competition, but higher levels, too. From her first season, Ruth Levy competed in both Ladies’ and mixed races, and qualified for the SCCA Nationals in 1955, in her own Porsche 356. By 1957, she was driving for John Edgar’s Porsche team alongside Carroll Shelby and entering endurance races at Road America and as far afield as Venezuela. In 1958, she drove a Fiat Abarth 750 Zagato in the Sebring 12 Hours.

Josie von Neumann, who raced alongside her father, John, was another driver who began in ladies’ races, but branched out. In 1959, she raced a Ferrari 250 TR in the main events of the Nassau Trophy, and at the 200 Mile endurance race at Riverside.

Evelyn Mull, Donna Mae Mims and Suzy Dietrich all started their careers in SCCA ladies’ races.


Suzy Dietrich

A recurring team-mate of Ruth Levy’s was Denise McCluggage. Denise’s motorsport achievements eclipsed Ruth’s fairly quickly, as her career was much longer. In her early days, she was a frequent competitor in ladies’ races, driving a Porsche 550, and won several. However, she admitted to not enjoying competing in them much, and claimed that she drove at her worst in them. Not all female drivers were enthusiastic advocates of single-sex racing.

As well as those who used ladies’ races as track practice, and those who were content to remain in them, a few other interesting drivers cropped up in the entry lists. One such was Louise Cano, who drove a Lancia Spyder and other cars in 1956 and 1957. She was never among the front-runners. She becomes much more prominent in motorsport a few years later, when, as Louise Bryden-Brown, she helped to get Dan Gurney started in international single-seater racing in her Lotus 18.

Also worth noting is LaRuth Bostic, who drove an Austin-Healey in a few races in 1957. LaRuth was the first African-American female racing driver.

Women-only races declined in popularity during the 1960s, perhaps due to the fact that many of their regular participants had branched out into mixed events. They remained a feature at short tracks, but slipped back into their “powder puff derby” afterthought stereotype. It was not until the Women’s Global GT championship in 1999 that a “serious” motorsport series for women drivers existed in the United States.

(Images from http://type550.com) 


Thursday, 3 April 2014

Molly Taylor


Molly Taylor in 2013

Molly is an Australian driver from an established rallying family: her father is Mark Taylor, a driver, and her mother is Coral Taylor, a co-driver with four Australian championships to her name. Despite her background, Molly’s initial sporting passion was for horses, and as a teenager, she competed in cross-country. She only took up motorsport at 17, after working at her father’s rally driving school and then finishing well in some motorkhana events. Her first competition car was a Holden Gemini.
She began her stage rallying career in 2006, supported by the Australian motorsport authority’s Women’s Driver Development programme. Straight away, she won the Rallye Des Femmes in Canberra, a women-only event, five minutes ahead of her nearest competitor. In her first season, she won the NSW 2WD and 2-litre titles.
Having proved her worth at state-level competition, she set the bar higher in 2007, and entered the Australian championship. This turned into two top-ten finishes in major Australian rallies in 2007, and an outright win in the F1600 class of the Australian championship, driving a Holden Gemini.
She repeated her achievement in 2008, driving a Mitsubishi Mirage. Her first big result was ninth, in the Coates Rally Queensland., followed by eleventh in the Canberra Rally.  She was 19th in the South Australia Rally, despite a spin and a puncture. During the Great Lakes Rally, she secured enough points to claim the S1600 championship on the first day, despite rolling the car and crashing out later. She then retired from the Melbourne Rally. 
Away from the official Australian championship, she scored her first win on the Myall Lakes Rally, in the multi-club class. Late in the European season, in September, she travelled to the UK for the Yorkshire International Rally, driving a Suzuki Swift. She was 28th overall, and seventh in class.
A move to England full-time followed in 2009, in order to further her rally career. Her British co-driver was Jemma Bellingham. She narrowly missed winning the Suzuki Swift Sport Cup after a fuel pump failure on the Yorkshire Rally. She was runner-up and British Ladies’ Champion as a consolation. Her best finish was 20th on the Pirelli Rally, which second of her two Swift Cup wins. The first came during the Bulldog Rally of North Wales, in which she was 24th. Her other events were the Jim Clark, Manx and Ulster Rallies. She crashed out in the Isle of Man, but finished the other two.
The following year, it was time for a new car. She exchanged the Swift for a Citroen C2, and contested the C2 Trophy in the UK. She also had a new co-driver: Phil Clarke sat alongside her for most of the year, apart from two rallies, where she was navigated by her mother, Coral. This year, Molly did not fare quite as well in her class, but her overall results were better, and more consistent. Her best overall finished were two fourteenth places, in the Manx and Trackrod Rallies, and she stayed in the top twenty for every rally she finished. Her best class finish was third, again, in the Trackrod Rally. Her performances were enough for her to defend her Ladies’ title.
She won a place in the WRC Academy for 2011, the replacement for the Junior WRC. Competing in six World Championship rallies across Europe in a Ford Fiesta,  her best result was fifth in class, achieved in the Alsace Rally France and Wales Rally GB. Academy drivers were not part of the main classification. She was eighth in Portugal, , did not finish in Italy, was ninth in Finland and fourteenth in Germany. This left her eleventh in the Academy standings.  Away from the WRC Academy, she did most of the British championship, in the Fiesta. Her best result was fourteenth, in the Pirelli Rally, but she retired from her other three British events: the Sunseeker, Bulldog and Scottish Rallies. Mid-season, she travelled to Estonia for the Rally of Estonia, and was 71st overall, eighth in class.
In 2012, she was active across Europe, and competed in two WRC events at the end of her season: Wales Rally GB, where she was 20th, and Finland, which she did not finish. Her car was a Citroen DS3 R3T. For her first rally of the year, the Bulldog, she used the Fiesta, but retired. Her first event in the Citroen was the Ypres Rally, where she was 35th. Her next outing in it was the Casentino International Rally in Italy, running as the course car. Molly was now working with an Italian sports management company, and spending quite a lot of time there. Her next rally was also in Italy, the Coppa Città di Lucca. She was 23rd, alongside Sebastian Marshall, who was her regular co-driver this season.
In 2013, she continued with the Citroen DS3, based in Italy and mostly following the ERC circuit. Her year started in the Portuguese Azores islands,  with a class win in the Açores City Rally Show, and 21st overall. Unfortunately, she retired from the Açores Rally proper, after an accident. Her next ERC Rally, the Tour de Corse, gave her another class win, which counted towards the championship this time. She was fourteenth overall and first lady driver, in front of the experienced Ekaterina Stratieva. A second visit to the Ypres Rally ended in retirement, but a first trip to Romania, for the Sibiu Rally Romania, gave her 25th, and seventh in class. This was another Ladies’ win over Stratieva. The Barum Czech Rally Zlín ended similarly: 26th and sixth in class. In addition to this, Molly was running in the Citroen Racing Trophy class, and was second in that. A third in the Citroen racing Trophy followed in Poland, in the Rajd Polski, in which she was 23rd. She was also 23rd in the Croatia Rally. A non-ERC outing in the Ronde della Val d'Orcia in Italy followed, and she achieved her best overall finish of the year: twelfth, with a class win. Her last event was the Wales Rally GB, in which she was 23rd again, fourth in class. She ended the year as the European Ladies’ Rally Champion, replacing Ekaterina Stratieva.
Australian rallying had not been completely forgotten. Mid-season, she travelled back to her home country for the Scouts Rally. Driving the Ford Fiesta, she was eighth in one heat, with a class win, and 20th in another.
Away from the rally stages, she is involved with the FIA’s Women in Motorsport Commission, which supports female involvement in motorsport, having been supported by its Australian equivalent.
In 2014, Molly contested the Junior World Rally Championship in the Citroen, intending to enter six rounds. Having let her regular co-driver Sebastian Marshall go, due to commercial pressures, she initially competed alongside her mother, Coral. They only did one rally together, the Rally of Portugal, in April. Molly was 37th, eighth in the JWRC, and eighth in the WRC3 standings. Her next event was the Rally of Poland in June. The gap between her rally outings did not help her preparedness, and Coral was also unable to co-drive for her daughter. Seb Marshall returned, and they got to the finish in 45th, despite serious clutch problems and a resulting time penalty on the penultimate day. 

They did better in Finland, finishing 35th overall, but third in the JWRC, and fourth in WRC3, despite a series of punctures. Unfortunately, funding issues meant that Molly was sidelined until Wales Rally GB in November. She had planned to drive in the Rallye Deutschland and Rallye Alsace, but her funding ran out. She did secure some more later in the season, and got her best overall finish of the year in Wales: 32nd. She was fourth in the JWRC and WRC3. At the end of the year, she was sixth in both WRC3, and the JWRC.   
In 2015, she returned to Australia, and rallied a Renault Clio in her domestic championship. She began well, with a third and a fourth in the Quit Forest Rally heats, and was normally a top-ten finisher throughout the year, and earned seven class wins. She was second in the championship. Her only international outing was the Rally of Australia, in which she was seventeenth.

2016 saw Molly moving into rally raids. She won one of the prize drives in the Sealine Qatar Desert Challenge offered in the FIA Women in Motorsport Desert Challenge, held at the end of 2015. However, she was back in Australia for the rally season there. Despite not winning an event outright, she was the Australian rally champion, as she had been the highest-placed Australian registered for the championship in two events: the SA Lightforce Rally, in which she was second, and the WRC Rally of Australia, in which she was thirteenth. Her second place in the Lightforce event followed a string of top-five finishes in Australian rallies, and another runner-up spot in the non-championship Tin Bin Dash Rallysprint. Her car was a Subaru Impreza, mostly supported by Subaru Australia.

At the very end of 2016, she had a go at co-driving, assisting a token male driver in the Rallye des Femmes, a women's rally held near Canberra.

(Image from www.mollytaylor.com.au)