Emma Gilmour’s Rally of Otago ended disappointingly early on the first day of the event this weekend.
Her Vantage Suzuki Swift Maxi got caught out going around a corner on the first stage, losing grip on some pine needles and sledging sideways into a tree. The underside of the car also unfortunately made contact with a low stump, which damaged the gearbox oil cooler.
Emma and co-driver Anthony McLoughlin were able to limp out of the stage but despite trying some repairs had to retire after stage two when the front diff broke as a consequence of the earlier damage.
After frantic efforts by the team to track down and transport the part needed to repair the diff, it was not possible to get it to Dunedin in time to make the repairs necessary to rejoin today.
“I know there are many levels of disappointment in motorsport but I’m feeling pretty gutted at the moment. The team put in such a huge effort and I’m disappointed that I haven’t been able to repay them and our great team of sponsors with a result that the mighty wee Suzuki deserves. Our first podium will have to wait,” Emma says.
The only positive she could take from the weekend was that her split times on the first stage were only a second behind eventual stage winner Auckland Subaru driver Ben Hunt, despite catching the car in front and not being able to pass.
“It was such a shame to not be able to finish the rally in front of my loyal home town supporters. However, we will be back for Rally Canterbury at the end of this month,” Emma says.
Emma would like to thank her sponsors Vantage Windows & Doors, Suzuki NZ, Metalman NZ, Rothbury Insurance Brokers, PPG Paint, Castrol, Dunlop, Hella, Vortex Racewear, Interislander, NGK Spark Plugs, Custom Signs, Modena Race Gears, Webdesign, plus new sponsor Koba Batteries supporting the team again.
Emma’s 2015 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship driven by VINZ calendar:
Rally of Whangarei, 18-19 April
Rally of Otago, 9-10 May
Canterbury Rally, 31 May
Rally Gisborne, 27 June
Rally Coromandel, 22 August
Rally Wairarapa, 3 October