Kiwi rally co-driver Malcolm Read has been given a huge career boost by linking with leading driver Molly Taylor and Subaru Australia in the Australian Rally Championship.
Read has agreed to partner the 2016 champion and one of the brightest prospects in rallying for the upcoming Australian championship.
He will become the first New Zealander since the late Possum Bourne to contest a full Australian championship and replaces long-serving Australian co-driver Bill Hayes as Taylor's teammate.
"It all came about from knowing Bill Hayes through the Asia Pacific Championship, which I have been doing with Mike Young," Read told The Herald.
"Bill has always been a good friend and fellow competitor and he approached me at Rally Australia last year and told me that he had an offer for me.
"He fired through an email to let me know about what he was thinking, which was retiring. All happened since November last year."
Read will make his debut alongside Taylor at the opening round of the six-event championship at the Eureka Rally in Victoria in a fortnight.
"I see it as a huge step," he said. "Subaru is a leading brand in the Asia-Pacific region. Australia is the third largest market for Subaru so it is huge from a manufacturer point of view.
"The Australian Rally Championship has some top drivers – Nathan Quinn, Harry Bates, Eli Evans – they are all very competitive.
"To jump in with Molly, who is probably the fastest female driver in the world, is a huge opportunity."
Read will continue to co-drive for Young at Asia-Pacific events except for the Canberra event, which doubles as a domestic and Asia-Pacific rally. He will also link up with Dylan Turner in the New Zealand Rally Championship in a number of rounds this year.