Emma Gilmour bounced back from her massive crash in the Whangarei Rally with a plucky drive to eighth place in Wairarapa today, rebuilding her confidence and learning a new car.
June 2, 2007, 5.30pm. Eighth place finisher Emma Gilmour had no illusions about the difficulty of the task facing her in today’s first leg of the Wairarapa Rally.
The accident in the Whangarei Rally that destroyed her Subaru Impreza WRX STi had also concussed her and given her confidence a hammering.
Gilmour, a former top level equestrian, likened getting back into a rally car to getting back on to an eventing horse after a bad fall.
She got medical clearance during the week to start the Wairarapa event, but even so, she faced unknowns as she rolled up the start if Special Stage 1 this morning – not just unknowns about how much confidence she had lost, but also about how the car would behave.
Because this was a brand-new car, built frenetically during the past three weeks at the Possum Bourne Motorsport workshop in Pukekohe, south of Auckland.
The first time she had driven it on gravel was when she lined up this morning at the start of Special Stage 1 in remote country northeast of Pongaroa.
And she was soon to discover that though it was also a Subaru Impreza WRX STi, it was to behave very differently to the car she had crashed in Northland.
“I thought the car would be really similar to the last one, but it’s not,” she said this afternoon.
“It does everything well, but still slightly differently. I’m having to think a lot about what the car is doing.”
Gilmour said she was a lot happier with the new Impreza on the three afternoon stages.
“We made some changes…and the car is starting to feel a lot like home. We’re progressing, and the biggest thing is I have to start feeling confident in the (pacenotes), and driving to the notes.”
There had been problems – windscreen wipers failing in SS4 where she was also held up for an estimated 28 seconds by a herd of cows which had strayed on to the rally route.
Gilmour said her confidence was not what it was before the Northland crash.
“But that’s to be expected. It’s taking time.”
That had been complicated by getting used to a new car.
“It’s a really good car, with a lot of power. It’s now a matter of getting everything together and feeling comfortable again.”
Photographs of Emma Gilmour from the autotrader.co.nz files.