Dunedin’s Emma Gilmour ended leg two of the International Rally of Whangarei in third place today in her Suzuki Swift Maxi.
It was a welcome boost after a tiny part broke off the alternator at the start of special stage nine on leg one yesterday. It left the Suzuki’s battery unable to hold the charge and ended Emma’s opening day early.
“Star co-driver Anthony [McLoughlin] jimmied it on to get us started but unfortunately it failed for good at the stage end. It was a very disappointing finish for the team after a solid day where we kept making progress,” Emma says.
The Suzuki was on form today however, finishing in the top five in all six stages and Emma says it responded well to the set up changes her team had made overnight.
“The car went awesome, it ran faultlessly really. We had a huge amount of fun on some of the best rallying roads in the world.”
American rally star Ken Block won the New Zealand Rally Championship category ahead of Auckland’s Ben Hunt and Rangiora’s Matt Summerfield.
Pairing up again with McLoughlin – he and Gilmour rallied together in 2012 – was successful and Emma had nothing but praise for his pace note reading role.
“Huge thanks to Anthony and our team, Lindsay, Mike, Glen and Lane and to my amazing sponsors,” Emma says.
Heading into her home event the Rally of Otago next month (May 9 to 10), Emma’s car is in good shape and her confidence is high about what it can achieve on home turf.
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 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