It was Drivesouth Rally of Otago heartbreak for Dunedin’s Emma Gilmour after a broken turbo on stage 15 ended a storming run that saw her Vantage Windows and Doors Suzuki Swift Maxi running in second place for Leg Two today.
The 1600cc car had recorded five, top five stage times and was on track for a overall result among the fastest four drivers.
“The team, Anthony and I, had done such a good job today and were really happy to be showing some great speed, so it was very disappointing to get so far into the rally but not be able to finish in front of our home crowd,” Emma says.
She can, however, claim to be the only driver in the event to win a stage over rally-winner and WRC driver Hayden Paddon, who broke records in each of the other 16 stages.
“The Suzuki was the fastest around the tarmac special stage eight, which was a nice bonus for the weekend,” Emma says.
Emma had a bumpy start to Leg One with dust hampering her vision on the first four stages and a puncture on stage two. She was pushing hard on Leg Two and gaining confidence in the car before the turbo failed.
Emma’s focus now switches to another form of rallying as she leaves this Tuesday for the 1650km Sealine Cross Country Rally in the desert landscapes of Qatar from April 17 to 22.
She won an international competition last year to find a female driver and co-driver to contest the tough sand-based event and will have Lisette Bakker from the Netherlands doing her navigation. The duo will have their entry fully funded. Competing in a production vehicle ”like a Nissan Safari or a Toyota Prado”, the pair will attempt to conquer stages of 300km-400km per day, equipped with a 300L fuel tank.