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Rally Championship title hots up


Just two points separates Emma Gilmour and her Subaru STI from the lead in the National Rally Championship as she heads to Nelson for the penultimate round this weekend

Seeded second behind series leader Dean Sumner, Gilmour will have the benefit of knowing everything her rival does.

“We have got to keep on finishing all the heats and just do as good a job as possible,” said Gilmour, who is hoping the rockier forestry roads do not inflict any ill timed punctures.

“It’s the roughest round of the series, although it’s not rough in comparison to some of the overseas events I’ve done,” said Gilmour. “But more people seem to get more punctures on the Nelson Rally than any other event.”

Gilmour, co-driver Glenn Macneall and their team have made some more changes to the Impreza WRX STI searching for more speed. “All the improvements we’ve done between each event have worked, so we’re hoping to go another step up this weekend.”

For fifth seed Richard Mason, the event is more about building speed for the final round on his home roads in the Wairarapa next month.

After a poor season by his high standards, the former double champion used the previous round at Whangarei as a testing exercise with his Impreza WRX STI. And has done more since.

“We’ve done a lot of suspension and set up changes,” said Mason. “We hope we’re on the right track, but until you get out there on a rally you don’t know for sure.”

“It’s probably unrealistic to bridge the big gap back to the front in one event, but we certainly want to be closer.”

Held in the forest south of Nelson, the event comprises six stages each day for a total of 256 kms over the two days, with separate points allocated each day.

Points going into the Rally of Nelson are:
1, D Sumner, 190; 2, E Gilmour, 188; 3, H Paddon, 168; 4, C West, 136; 5, P Malley, 119.

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