Emma Gilmour is determined to recover some ground over the two-day International Rally of Whangarei this weekend.
The Dunedin rally driver did not have the best start to the season, with a mechanical and an-off-road excursion at the Drivesouth International Otago Rally earlier this month, meaning that she and co-driver Anthony McLoughlin scored no points at the opening round.
They will start with a fresh slate at this second round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) and look forward to measuring themselves against the international competitors entered in this event, which doubles as the opening round of the 2017 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship.
“We will certainly be putting our best foot forward and will be aiming to get as many points as possible in the Vantage Windows and Doors Suzuki Swift Maxi. Our stage win and top stage times at Otago show we have the pace to win events,” Emma says.
She was runner-up at this event last year and with many of the 270km of competitive gravel stages in the Far North and Whangarei districts – to the north and south of Whangarei – similar to last year, Emma and her team will be gunning for one result higher up the podium.
“It is a long season ahead so we will just be putting our heads down this weekend and working hard for the next five rounds,” Emma says.
The Whangarei Rally commences with a shakedown on Friday morning at Pohe Island, a short distance from the service park.
Focus then turns to the autograph signing session from 5pm at ‘The Fishhook of Pohe’ river crossing bridge. That is followed by the 6pm cultural welcome and ceremonial start with the first test – the 1km long Hella Pohe Island Super Special Stage to start at 7pm. Run twice, teams complete the evening ahead of the action proper starting early Saturday morning.
After the final stage the cars return for the 3pm ceremonial finish at the Quayside Town Basin, adjacent to the inner harbour and city centre.
Emma would like to thank her sponsors Suzuki NZ, Vantage Windows & Doors, Gilmour Motors Suzuki, Koba Batteries, Rothbury Insurance Brokers, PPG Paint, Castrol, Dunlop, Hella, Vortex Racewear, Uniform NZ, Provident, Interislander, NGK Spark Plugs, Custom Signs, Modena Race Gears, Pure Sports Nutrition and Webdesign for supporting the team.
2017 New Zealand Rally Championship calendar
Round 1: Rally of Otago, Dunedin – 8-9 April
Round 2: International Rally of Whangarei – 28-30 April
Round 3: Canterbury Rally, Christchurch – 4 June
Round 4: Rally of Coromandel – 26 August
Round 5: Rally Waikato, Waitomo – 14 October
Round 6, Rally New Zealand, Tauranga – 25-26 November