Best ever result for Gilmour in Rally Malaysia
- 16th August 2009, 7:46pm
Emma Gilmour has powered to her best-ever result in international rallying, finishing runner-up to her team mate Cody Crocker at the Malaysia round of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC).
Her second placing ends Gilmourâ€™s run of national and international championship third places stretching back close to a year, and propels her to within two points of former champion Katsuhiko Taguchi in the 2009 APRC standings.
Rain made for exceptionally slippery roads on the rallyâ€™s opening leg, with Taguchi one of those who fell prey to the conditions; he crashed his Mitsubishi Evo into retirement on the dayâ€™s seventh stage, leaving the way clear for Crocker and Gilmour to score their first one-two finish for the Motor Image Subaru Racing Team.
The rallyâ€™s opening day was not without its dramas for Gilmour either: an intercom failure meant she was forced to complete two stages without the benefit of pace note instructions from co-driver Claire Mole; rain then made conditions so bad that she spun several times in a single stage, damaging the steering of her Subaru Impreza STi in the process.
â€œI knew the Malaysian stages would be especially tough if it was wet, but nothing can actually prepare your for competing in such slippery conditions for the first time,â€ Gilmour said. â€œWe spun five times, and overshot a junction all on one stage; usually that would add up to an absolute disaster in rallying terms, but because conditions were so bad we found ourselves counting the stage as a success, simply because we recovered from those dramas to complete it!â€
â€œFinishing the day was an achievement in itself, and doing so in second place for the day was just the icing on the cake really.â€
Having lost several minutes to Crocker with the carâ€™s bent steering, and with Taguchi and his team mate Gaurav Gill both casualties of the opening leg, Gilmour found herself having to take a conservative approach for Sundayâ€™s second leg of the rally.
â€œIt was a difficult day mentally, because there was not a lot to gain, but an awful lot to lose,â€ she said. â€œConditions were drier so the stages were much improved, but this time our challenge was handling the amazing humidity and heat. Claire and I were both wearing special cool suits, but even so it was close to unbearable in the car at times!â€
Gilmour and Mole maintained their concentration throughout the day, even managing to beat team mate Crocker through one of the stages, and so confirmed their second placing for the rally.
â€œHaving finished third in the championship field on every rally we have contested previously this year, it was a great feeling taking a further step up on the podium,â€ Gilmour said. â€œConfirming a one-two finish for the team at the same time made the result all the sweeter.â€
Gilmourâ€™s next event is the final round of the New Zealand Rally Championship, which will run out of Nelson on 19-20 September. She is currently placed second in the NZ series behind defending champion Hayden Paddon. Her next APRC round is the 3-4 October Rally Indonesia.
Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), Rally Malaysia, 11-12 July
Results for APRC & Pacifc Cup -registered drivers
1. Cody Crocker, Ben Atkinson (Australia, Subaru Impreza STi) 3h16m22s;
2. Emma Gilmour, Claire Mole (NZ, Subaru Impreza STI) 3h37m11s;
3. Rifat Sungkar, Scott Beckwith (Indonesia, Mitsubishi Evo) 3h41m29s.
Asia-Pacific Rally Championship Points (after four rounds)
1, Cody Crocker (Australia) 63pts; 2. Katsuhiko Taguchi (Japan) 36pts; 3 Emma Gilmour (New Zealand), 34pts; 4 Brian Green (NZ) 9 pts; 5 Gaurav Gill (India) 8pts.
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