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Job done for Emma

 

Emma Gilmour may not have driven the final stages of Neste Oil Rally Finland but as far as the 26 year-old Kiwi was concerned she's already achieved what she and her sponsors wanted from her two rally foray into the FIA World Rally Championship in the Fiesta SportingTrophy International (FSTi).

Emma Gilmour may not have driven the final stages of Neste Oil Rally Finland but as far as the 26 year-old Kiwi was concerned she's already achieved what she and her sponsors wanted from her two rally foray into the FIA World Rally Championship in the Fiesta SportingTrophy International (FSTi).

Gilmour, driving in this event and the previous weekend's OMV ADAC Rallye Deutschland thanks to support from Castrol and Dream Drive Promotions, certainly made her mark on the world of international rallying by setting three fastest stage times in the FSTi against more experienced rivals contesting the full season.

With no previous experience of rallying in a two-wheel-drive car, Gilmour was on the pace in both the sealed surface Rallye Deutschland and the gravel of Rally Finland. It was Finland, contesting the tenth round of the WRC, where Gilmour truly came into her element. On the first full day she set her first fastest FSTi stage time. The next day she set two further fastest times as a testament to her pace and potential.

"Finland was an absolute blast, " said Gilmour. "It was good to see that on the most famous stage in the world, Ouininpohja, I can set a fastest time, I even beat the Finns on every stage on that loop."

Unfortunately Gimour's run came to an end late on the Saturday with a hard landing from one of the many jumps, hitting a rock and piercing the sump of Gilmour's Fiesta ST. Her car was returned to the service park and it went to parc fermé on Sunday, meaning Gilmour and co-driver Claire Mole were classified as the sixth Fiesta ST, just ahead of Mathieu Biaision who was second in the points standings coming into the event.

"The start of the last stage on Saturday was very rough," said Gilmour. "I don't know what caused it but the engine started to lose power. There were no warning lights but then it just stopped. The sump has been holed and we lost all of the oil."

The Fiesta SportingTrophy International has its final round as part of Wales Rally GB on December 1-3. Emma Gilmour will be rallying this coming weekend back in New Zealand.

Q&A with Emma Gilmour.

Q: What were your experiences of OMV ADAC Rallye Deutschland?

A: Rally Germany was definitely a difficult event for us in many ways and in hindsight we should have got a hydraulic handbrake fitted. I though there were going to be some junctions, but never as many junctions as there were! It was fantastic to experience the event and get an idea of how challenging it is as regards tyre choice and things like that. When I go back there I'll have more of an idea of what to expect.

Q: Experiences of Neste Oil Rally Finland?

A: I have to admit that after doing recce I was pretty nervous as I haven't driven a two-wheel drive car on gravel before. However Claire and I did a pretty good job on the notes. We took our time, we were like grandmas on the recce, definitely slowest and we seemed to be caught by everyone. It obviously made a difference as we were able to drive committed on them when we got to them at speed. I think that's crucial to the whole event, having good pace notes to be able to carry your speed.

Finland was an absolute blast. We had our fair share of dramas again on the Friday, we were battling a little bit with the car's front strut, but we got through it and had a really good time.

Q: How did the two drives in the FiestaSporting Trophy International come about?

A: I won the scholarship last year through Raymond Munro and the Dream Drive Promotions - it's an opportunity to help young drivers further their career. Originally the plan was to drive Raymond's WRC car in a Scottish event. We looked at what was going to further my career and it had to be competing in front of the teams at WRC level. We felt that by doing two rallies you're going to make more of an impact than doing one and putting all your eggs in one basket.

Q: Why the Fiesta SportingTrophy International?

A: We only knew about the Fiesta SportingTrophy International late last year and it's worked the best with our budget, especially with Castrol coming to the party and giving me a car to drive and allowing us to do two events. It really has been a great opportunity with the budget we had.

Q: What have you learnt from contesting the two events?

A: In Germany I learnt a lot, just so much, and the same again in Finland. You can't really quantify how much you learn as between these two events I've now gone and furthered my experience by another 600 stage kilometres which is a lot. It's as many as some people do in five events but I've done it in two events over the course of a fortnight so that's just a fantastic experience.
Andy Stobart

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