The Emma Gilmour of old is back, turning in a committed and confident drive in Rally NZ.
Emma Gilmour has bounced back to the form she showed before her serious accident in the 2007 Whangarei Rally, and has driven her Vantage Aluminium Subaru Impreza WRX STi to a strong 16th
overall in this weekend’s Repco Rally New Zealand.
She was second New Zealander to finish, behind newly-crowned national champion Hayden Paddon’s Paddon Direct Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9.
With co-driver Claire Mole, Gilmour also won the award for the first all female crew.
It’s her best result since the start of the 2007 NZ championship, when she finished second in the Otago Rally.
"It's great to have three days of good rallying," said Gilmour. "It's been a long time coming. We've had a pretty tough time, so a good result repays all the people who have had faith in me."
After signs of an encouraging return to form at the Hawke’s Bay national event a month ago Gilmour came to the World Championship event with the intention of "just wanting to do some good stage times."
But she was on the pace from the outset, and on one stage today was second-fastest Group N driver, behind well-regarded Finn, Juho Hanninen.
She drove Rally NZ with a rediscovered confidence and a high level of commitment and aggression
"People were saying our recent mediocre performances were more about my mental state after the (Whangarei) accident.
“But I knew if we got the car right we could still be competitive. At the speed our national events are (run at I need) to be 100 percent confident the car's just right."
She says she and Mole put more effort into refining their pacenotes for the slower sections of the stages.
"We get on really well, everything gelled nicely."
“It's taken a lot of commitment from everybody in the team to get here after the hard times, which has made it more worthwhile."