As the 2017 rally season rolls around Emma Gilmour is in the favourable position of having a proven car and team, plus all her sponsors in place, ahead of the opening round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC).
Emma’s home event, the Dunedin-based DriveSouth International Otago Rally from April 7 to 9 is the first of six rounds she will campaign in her mighty Vantage Windows and Doors Suzuki Swift Maxi. She believes it is an exciting era for rallying to have so many new cars entered and looks forward to pitting her well-tested Suzuki against them.
“It is a great feeling going into the season having done the hard yards with the Suzuki’s development and we now have a proven package that we are happy with. I will have my same team looking after the car, including my Australian co-driver Anthony McLoughlin. He is so professional and we work really well together, so it’s great to have him on-board for the third consecutive season,” Emma says.
Running her business Gilmour Motors Suzuki full-time keeps Emma busy and she is grateful to her sponsors for their on-going commitment her campaign.
Two weeks out from the Otago Rally she was able to fine-tune her Vantage Windows and Doors Suzuki in the Eastern Southland Car Club’s Chloris Pass Rallysprint last weekend.
“Our pre-season testing and shakedown event in the Catlins went really well. It’s been a long off-season so I really enjoyed getting back in the car and driving fast again,” Emma says.
Last year, Emma made a break-through winning her first NZRC round in Canterbury and became the first female to ever win a national rally event. She would love to claim another victory straight off the bat at her local rally in Otago next weekend.
“The home crowds are always so supportive and it is great to see such a bumper entry list for the event this year.”
The 2017 Otago Rally has received over 130 entries, including 51 in the opening round of the NZRC.
Emma’s supporters can see her and the Vantage Windows and Doors Suzuki at the Friday, April 7 night show and ceremonial start in the Octagon which begins at 5pm and the first car leaves at 6.15pm.
The rally features 14 special stages on Saturday and Sunday, with a competitive distance of nearly 285 kilometres. It once again includes famous stages such as Waipori Gorge, Whare Flat, McIntosh Road and Kuri Bush. To see the rally action right in Dunedin, head to the popular tarmac stage around the wharf area by the Anzac Ave over-bridge from 3pm on Saturday.
For the first time, Emma will have team merchandise – shirts, hoodies and beanies – available online at www.emmagilmour.com
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.