Fiesta SportingTrophy International (FSTi) Wildcard Emma Gilmour braved the wilds of Wales and Cumbria to end her 2006 Fiesta SportingTrophy activities with some of the most gruelling conditions she had ever experienced in her rally career.
Gilmour was awarded the FSTi Wildcard place in the Shootout held at M-Sport's Cockermouth base and joined the top three from the FSTi plus the top two and a Wildcard from all the other Fiesta SportingTrophy series around the world.
A total of 25 competitors took part and all were put through a programme of physical, psychological, media and driving tests over the two days of December 5-6, just two days after Wales Rally GB, the final round of the Fiesta SportingTrophy International, in which Gilmour and co-driver Claire Mole competed in their Castrol-backed Fiesta ST.
"Wales Rally GB was a very tough event for us and we went straight from that to the Shootout," said Gilmour, 26, from the south island of New Zealand. "I was happy with the physical and media tests but I wasn't where I wanted to be in the driving. I jumped straight into a different car and I don't feel I did myself justice.
"The Shootout itself was amazing. M-Sport is such a professional operation and meeting all the other Fiesta competitors was invaluable and I made a lot of new friends."
Although she did not make it to the final six competitors who went through an interview with M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson, Gilmour's performance against the very best Fiesta ST drivers from around the world was admirable. Swedish Wildcard Victor Henriksson was chosen as the winner.
"It was a very tough competition," said Fiesta SportingTrophy co-ordinator, Stella Boyles, "and the standards of all the competitors were extremely high. We were extremely pleased with the efforts that everyone made to be there and take part, and delighted that two girls had made the final 25. However, there only could be one winner, and Victor Henriksson is a great choice. Just a pity that we couldn't reward more of the competitors, especially those like Emma who had travelled half way round the world to be there."
The 2007 Fiesta SportingTrophy International features seven rallies starting with Rally of Norway on February 16-18 and culminating with Wales Rally GB on November 30 - December 2.