Girls just wanna have fun!
This year’s Rally of Otago will see two lady drivers at the pointy end of the field, proving that you don’t have to be a man to be successful in the dirty and dusty world of rallying.
French lady, Michele Mouton, is widely regarded as the greatest female rally driver of all time, but a local Kiwi girl will also be challenging the boys for victory when the event gets under way on May 10.
Despite shifting to the North Island to base herself closer
to her car and team, Dunedin’s Emma Gilmour is looking forward to
returning home to compete in her home rally, the Rally of Otago.
second round of the Vantage Aluminium Joinery New Zealand Rally
Championship, the Otago Rally will be Gilmour’s first opportunity to
compete in front of her home fans after a huge accident during that
2007 season that destroyed her Subaru Impreza WRX.
has special importance to me this year as this will be the first time
competing in my new car in front of the community that helped me get
back on my wheels after our bad accident last year,” Gilmour said.
local community raised over $35,000 towards my new car, which is simply
awesome, and still humbles me today! Getting a good result at Otago
will be a great way to repay everyone’s support and belief in me, and
will also help our NZ championship bid.”
With boyfriend and
former co-driver, Glenn Macneall, contesting the Production World Rally
Championship with Japan’s Toshi Arai in 2008, Gilmour will have the
experienced Jeff Judd reading the pacenotes for her this year. However,
Judd will be driving in the Otago Classic Rally in his Ford Escort
RS1800, so Gilmour will have former New Zealand Rally Champion, Chris
Cobham, in the left hand seat.
“I’m really looking forward to
Otago this year,” Gilmour added. “It is my home event and since I have
shifted to the North Island at the start of the year to base myself
closer to my car and team, I have certainly been missing home!
is my favourite event for many reasons. I like the compact nature of
the event, the roads are a buzz to drive on, the atmosphere is relaxed
and people seem to really enjoy themselves – whether they are
competing, servicing or spectating.”
Gilmour’s Subaru Impreza
WRX will again be supported by Vantage Aluminium, Subaru, Metalman and
Pirelli, with the Dunedin Casino, QBE, Castrol, Wurth, Exe-TC
Suspension and WRC Developments also supporting her campaign in 2008.
well as being the second round of the New Zealand Rally Championship,
the 2008 Otago Rally will include the Dunlop International Classic
Rally of Otago, and the Rally Xtreme which will allow any vehicle to be
part of the field.
This year’s rally will entail 13 special
stages covering a total competitive distance of 258km. As well as two
days of flat-out competition, a high-profile pre-event Motor Show will
be held on the Friday night, enabling competitors to display their cars
in front of a large crowd of spectators and rally fans.