Gilmour commits to full NZ Rally Championship

Following several seasons interrupted by international driving commitments, Dunedin rally driver Emma Gilmour will contest the full six-round 2024 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC).

Having made the decision to step away from the Extreme E series last year, in which she drove for McLaren, Emma is looking forward to enjoying her first complete domestic rally season since 2018.

“I am thrilled to be getting back out on the amazing New Zealand rally roads again. After three years travelling the world driving in Extreme E events for NEOM McLaren, and Covid interrupting the 2020 season, it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to look forward to a start-to-finish New Zealand championship!” Emma says.

Piloting her Vantage Windows & Doors WRC2 C3 rally car, her campaign will comprise tried and proven components, with an exciting new addition.

Emma Gilmour (Citroen C3 R5) – Photo Terry Marshall

Sitting next to Emma this season will be her new co-driver Palmerston North’s Katrina Renshaw.

“I’m looking forward to working with Katrina over the NZRC rounds. She’s an up-and-coming co-driver, who has done really well over the past few seasons with different drivers, so it will be exciting to see what we can achieve together.”

“We had our first competitive outing over the weekend in the Eastern Southland Car Club’s Popotunoa Rallysprint, where we finished in a close second place. It was so good to be back in the car and it was a real pleasure working with Katrina. I think we’ll have a lot of fun competing together,” Emma says.

Katrina first met Emma in 2019 at the Motorsport New Zealand Elite Academy in Dunedin.

“I was incredibly fortunate to have a few mentoring sessions with her back then and the valuable advice Emma shared with me has been top of mind for me during every rally since,” Katrina says.

She has been co-driving since 2018 and stepped up to navigating for R5/Rally2 (NZRC Category 1) drivers from 2020.

“I’m very excited to work with Emma and the Paddon Rallysport team and look forward to the season ahead in the C3. It’s a stunning car! Emma is and always has been an excellent ambassador for our sport and I am very proud to be rallying with such a dedicated team,” Katrina says.

Emma will again entrust the car’s preparation to Paddon Rallysport.

“It was a great step for me to engage Hayden Paddon’s team Paddon Rallysport to run my C3 out of its Cromwell base last year. They are a very professional team and Hayden’s experience is a huge help.”

“I also have all the same sponsors as last season, which is fantastic. This year is a real milestone, as it is my 20th season with Vantage’s support. Vantage is an amazing New Zealand company and CEO Craig Vincent has been an incredibly important mentor for me over the past two decades. The longevity of this sponsorship is something that I am extremely grateful for.”

Craig says that: “Yes 20 years is a very long time, but how time flies.”

“I remember being introduced to Emma a year after Possum [Bourne] passed away and thought what a great opportunity it would be to get involved with a talented up-and-coming female rally driver and so the journey began. Emma was then driving a Mitsubishi but it didn’t take us long to get her into a Subaru, which really lifted her competitiveness.”

“Emma has been a wonderful ambassador for the Vantage brand over these 20 years and has also been one of only four people to drive the amazing Vantage WRC car, when she competed in it at the Leadfoot Festival,” Craig says.

The 2024 NZ Rally Championship begins with Emma’s hometown event and the traditional season-opening Otago Rally on 13-14 April. Rally South Canterbury follows, a month earlier than usual, on 11 May.

The Southern Lights Rally will take place in Southland on 22 June before a nearly three-month mid-year break.

The North Island rounds begin on 14 September with the Daybreaker Rally based out of the Manawatu, while Rally Bay of Plenty returns on 5 October.

The championship will finish with International Rally of Whangarei taking place on 8-10 November.

Related Stories

Join in the conversation!


Leave a Reply