Emma Gilmour is looking forward to her first outing in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship – the Rally of Queensland – next weekend from May 8 to 10.
Gilmour will debut a brand new Subaru Impreza WRX STI for the Singapore based Motor Image team with Australian co-driver Rhiannon Smyth sitting alongside her.
“It’s an exciting opportunity,” said Hamilton based Gilmour, who is originally from Dunedin. “I’m really looking forward to the events and working with the team that has taken Cody Crocker to the championship title for the last three years.”
Her car has been built by Pukekohe based Possum Bourne Motorsport, which will also service it on the events for the Motor Image team. The company is now run by Kevin Sanderson, who was part of Bourne’s team for 20 years.
“The team has got a lot of knowledge of the cars and the events, so it’s a great opportunity for me to gain more experience,” said Gilmour.
Apart from New Zealand’s round of the series at Whangarei next month all of the events will be new to Gilmour.
“Rhiannon has done the Queensland Rally several times and I’ve spectated their twice so I have a feel for the terrain and environment although driving there will be totally new,” she said.
“With Whangarei the next round it will be good to have some familiar events before we do the four rallies up in Asia.”
Gilmour has already done several test sessions with the team in the car that Crocker will be driving and she will test her own car on Wednesday (May 6).
She has no plans to try and match defending champion Crocker in Queensland. “It will be really important to finish the event and get maximum experience along with some points on the board.”
The Queensland event is based on the Sunshine Coast, north of Brisbane and is held entirely on forestry roads, with 228 kms of special stages.
“This will be Rhianon’s and mine’s first event together so it will be a good opportunity to get use to working with one another in the car and starting the series positively.”
The Queensland Rally is the start of a busy six months for Gilmour as she will be competing in nine events over that period – Asia Pacific championship rallies and rounds of the New Zealand Championship.
Straight after the Rally of Queensland she will return to Dunedin for the Rally of Otago in her Vantage Alumnium Joinery Subaru, her “home” event and the next round of the New Zealand series, the following weekend.
Emma’s full programme is:
May 8-10 Rally of Queensland (Asia Pacific Championship)
May 16-17 Rally of Otago (New Zealand Championship)
June 6-7 Rally of Whangarei (NZ & AP)
July 11-12 Rally of Hokkaido (AP)
July 18-19 Wairarapa Rally (NZ)
August 15-16 Rally of Malaysia (AP)
September 19-20 Rally of Nelson (NZ)
October 3-4 Rally of Indonesia (AP)
November 14-15 Rally of China (AP)