Dunedin’s Emma Gilmour came tantalizingly close to a rally podium at her home event the Drivesouth Rally of Otago this weekend.
Her Suzuki Swift Maxi was achieving its best-yet results and running in second place, before its fuel pump stopped working 2km into stage 12 today, ending Emma and Australian co-driver Ben Atkinson’s rally.
“The car just stopped dead, with a fuel pump failure and there was nothing we could have done to fix it,” a disappointed Emma says.
The positives to be taken away from the rally are that the home-built Suzuki had finished Leg One in third place and had set top five stage times all the way through to stage 12. Emma and Ben recorded three runner-up stage times and three third places, behind eventual rally winners Richard and Sara Mason, which was extremely encouraging.
“We made some really big gains with the Suzuki’s development since Whangarei and the set-up and balance felt amazing, plus it was really fun to drive. It was great to be able to put on a show for all our local supporters,” Emma says.
Despite the obvious disappointment of not finishing the rally, being first on the scene at Chris West and his co-driver Chris Cobham’s accident on the first stage this morning put everything into perspective.
“It was disappointing but in the scale of DNFs ours is something we can bounce back from. We were just glad that Westie and Chris were OK.” Emma says.
Although it is three weeks until the next round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship powered by VINZ in Canterbury, Emma is packing her bags tonight for Barbados. She flies out tommorrow morning to join her Rhys Millen Racing team for the first round of the 10-round Global Rallycross Championship. Emma will be driving a 600hp Veloster and is the first woman to ever compete in the series.
Emma thanks Suzuki and Vantage Aluminium Joinery as her primary sponsorship partners, plus supporting sponsors Gilmour Motors, Metalman, Supercharge Batteries, Castrol, PPG Paint, Pfitzner Performance Gearboxes, Hella, Apparelmaster, Endless Brakes, Interislander, Rothbury, Dunlop, Rock radio station, Metalspray, Custom Signs and Arai helmets.