Emma Gilmour has secured a minimum third placing in the 2009 Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), and is still in with a chance of gaining second, following a solid performance at last weekend’s penultimate round in Indonesia.
The New Zealander continued her run of podium finishes in the 2009 series in Indonesia, powering her Motor Image Racing Team Subaru Impreza STI to third place overall despite a puncture on Saturday’s opening leg and overheating problems on Sunday’s final leg.
The rallying was made all the more challenging for Gilmour and her fellow competitors by an unexpected downpour on Saturday’s leg, but the storm clouds ended up having a silver lining for the Kiwi.
“I thought I had experienced wet and slippery conditions at the last round in Malaysia, but this was at another level altogether,” she said. “We had wheel spin all the way – in every gear – and plenty of spins and overshoots too, but we did make it to the finish of the day.”
Not all of Gilmour’s rivals were so fortunate, so when she finished the day in third place, behind Australian team mate Cody Crocker and Japan’s Katsuhiko Taguchi, she had already done enough to put a third placing in the series beyond doubt.
She continued to hold down third place overall over Sunday’s stages, by the end of which event winner Crocker had also acquired sufficient points to successfully defend his Asia-Pacific championship title for another year.
“It’s Cody’s fourth Asia-Pacific title, which is a record achievement and a great result for our team,” said Gilmour. “As well as congratulating him on his success, I’d also like to thank him for all this help and advice on this, my first season in the series.
Heading for next month’s season finale in China, Gilmour still has a chance of making it a championship one-two for the Motor Image team. To do so, she will have to outscore Taguchi by at least seven points on the event.
“With points awarded for our times on each leg as well as for the overall result, there are a number of ways things could pan out to enable that to happen,” Gilmour explains.
However unless Taguchi happens to retire, an almost certain requirement will be that I finish at least two places ahead of him. That’s not going to be easy given his far greater experience of the conditions we will be facing, but you can rest assured I am determined to give it my best shot.”