Emma Gilmour had a frustrating and nightmarish run on last weekend's Otago Rally, her home event where she finished second in 2007 and was looking to go one better this time.
Emma Gilmour went into last weekend’s Otago Rally, her home event, with high hopes.
She’d finished second there last year and had led the rally for a time: what she needed this time was a car that was 100 per cent right _ and pre-event testing suggested that’s what she had in the Vantage Aluminium Joinery Subaru Impreza WRX STi.
But that’s not the way it worked out and Gilmour had a rally fraught with problems, though she did salve finishes from both heats and a few New Zealand Rally Championship points.
A sixth-placing in heat one on Saturday was as good as it got for the driver who is now based in Rotorua.
Her trouble started a few kilometres into Special Stage 1 when she again found herself battling a car that was not handling as it should have been.
That was traced to a fault in differential, which required a mid-leg gearbox change to solve. Back into the stages, this time with a standard gearbox in place of the competition unit, the Impreza developed an engine fault that caused it to lose power.
Further engine problems struck in Leg 2 on Sunday morning. A recurrence of the differential problems and a puncture on the 51km Duns stage ended any chance she had of an improved performance on the rally’s second leg.
She limped home in 15th and finished the weekend 12th overall for the round.
“It’s pretty standard to refer to rallies like this as ‘character building’, but right now I feel like I have had enough character building to last a lifetime,” Gilmour said. “When we made it across the finish ramp, all I could think was: ‘finally, it is over’.
“After all of the hard work and commitment that has gone into preparing for this rally having problems from the very first stage has been heartbreaking.
“When things still weren’t right on the Sunday morning we started to look more towards next month’s championship round in Whangarei, and focusing on what we need to do to be back on the pace for that.”