Aussies battle hard in Europe

Monday 13 September, 2021
Molly Taylor took part in her second FIA World Rally Championship event for 2021.
FIA World Rally Championship  
Molly Taylor’s run in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) ended prematurely again after the 2016 RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Champion retired from the Rally Acropolis Greece. 
Taking place around Athens, Taylor and co-driver Seb Marshall were unable to complete large parts of the event after their M-Sport Ford Fiesta twice suffered heating issues on separate days.  
There were glimpses of positive signs throughout the weekend with Taylor’s best result coming in Saturday’s opening stage with a 33rd outright, which came after an impressive 34th on Friday.  
Unfortunately, they were unable to get a consistent run at any point before the team eventually called it a day after just two stages on Saturday.  
Taylor’s third and final WRC appearance for 2021 will be at Rally Finland on 1-3 October.  
GB3 Championship 
It was another decent weekend for Christian Mansell and Bart Horsten in the GB3 Championship as both drivers secured podiums during the penultimate round of the season. 
With the Championship running at Oulton Park, both drivers were neck-and-neck throughout the opening two races, however it was Horsten who got the edge over Mansell in their entertaining battle. 
In qualifying, Horsten ended up in P5 and just two hundredths of a second faster than Mansell, who just scraped past Javier Sagrera for P6 by seven thousandths of a second. 
Both drivers were unable to make up a place in the opening race of the weekend before an epic second race saw both claim a podium, with Horsten second and Mansell third thanks to the retirement of multiple drivers ahead of them.
However, it was Horsten’s race which proved to be one of the major dramas of the red-flagged race as the timekeepers technically awarded him the win when the session was stopped. 

Unfortunately, it was then taken away and given to Luke Browning, who had led the race for its entirety and had fought off the challenges from multiple drivers, which led to their eventual demises.  
There wasn’t as much fortune in the round’s reverse grid race as Mansell finally got the better of his West Australian rival, but neither finished in the top 10 of a rain–affected outing. 
Starting from P11, Mansell tried his best to try and break into the top 10, but couldn’t and finished where he started, while contact to Horsten early, who started in P12, spun him around and sent him to the back of the grid where he finished 14th.  
On the standings, Mansell unfortunately lost second place to Ayrton Simmons, but remains in the hunt as he trails by three points. Horsten meanwhile edged closer to the fifth placed Reece Ushijima and is just 13 points off ahead of the final round. 

The Championship returns to Donington Park for the second time this year, with the season finale to take place on 16-17 October. 
French Formula 4 Championship 
Hugh Barter has enjoyed a solid haul of points during the fourth round of the French Formula 4 Championship as he secured his first podium since May. 
Taking place at the Circuit de Lédenon, Barter had a strong qualifying run where he occupied pole for a long time before finishing the session in third. 
A mistake at the start of the opening race saw Barter drop down the order early on, however he recovered to finish in P4. He again showed his passing prowess in the weekend’s reverse grid race after starting in seventh and finishing fourth again. 
Starting the final race from the second row in P4, Barter got off to a great start and made a pass early to move into third, where he stayed for the remainder of the race, despite coming close to a runner-up finish. 
The Victorian finished the round in third place on the standings and made some inroads on championship leader Esteban Masson – just 42 points now separating the duo. 
It’s less of a wait between meetings for the French Formula 4 Championship with the fifth round of the season to take place at the iconic Monza circuit on 24-26 September. 

Formula Regional European Championship 
Tommy Smith’s long-awaited return to the Formula Regional European Championship has ended in heartbreak. 
Driving at the Red Bull Ring, Smith unfortunately retired in the opening race before finishing P26 in the second race.  
The Victorian will have another chance to improve soon with the championship’s next round to take place at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia on 25-26 September.  
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