Battling the flu and a failing engine as well as her rivals, Emma Gilmour was forced to settle for third place on this weekend’s Nelson Rally.

Gilmour had been hoping to challenge for victory on the two day event, and snatch the national rally championship lead from Mitsubishi’s Dean Sumner. However the Vantage Team Subaru driver was unable to achieve her main aim for the weekend, though she still retains second place in the series standing with just one round to run.

“Falling ill like this is something you just have to get on and deal with and engine problems are part of rallying, but I must say I’m pretty disappointed,” said Gilmour. “I was really looking forward to taking the fight to Dean over the weekend, but in the end I have had to dig really deep within myself just to come home third.”

Placed eighth after the rally’s opening stage, Gilmour managed to pick up the pace over the rest of the first day, finishing second to Sumner on four of the next five stages before winning the final test outright.  That show of speed lifted her to third for the day, just 2.1 secs behind leg one runner-up Richard Mason.

Gilmour, though, was concerned that her car felt down on power, and her crew fitted a new turbocharger for Sunday’s stages. With a good night’s sleep leaving the driver feeling much better, that should have been the recipe for a return to form on Sunday.

Unfortunately, early on the first stage, the engine started to lose power again, and back in service, excessive oil consumption pointing to a suspected problem with the motor’s piston rings. The power loss worsened over the remaining stages, and Gilmour only able to claim fifth for the day, and cling on to third place for the rally by a matter of seconds.

With Sumner powering to victory on both days of the rally, the gap to Gilmour in the series standings has opened out from a narrow two points to 29 points with one round – next month’s Wairarapa Rally – remaining.

“That puts Dean in the box seat in that, even I win outright in the Wairarapa, he will still secure the series win simply by finishing in the top five for both heats and overall,” Gilmour says. “Unless he strikes a major problem, that means there won’t be too much in the way of tactics for me to worry about in the final round; it will simply be a case of giving it 100%, and driving as hard as I know to win”.
New Zealand Rally Championship, Rally of Nelson

Overall Classification
1, Dean Sumner, Paul Fallon (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9) 1h39m27.9s
3, Richard Mason, Sarah Mason (Subaru Impreza WRX STI) 1h40m52.6s
3, Emma Gilmour, Glenn Macneall (Subaru Impreza WRX STI) 1h43m02.1s
4, Chris West, Chris Cobham (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9) 1h43m13.6s
5, Kieran Hall, Jamie Kibble (Subaru Impreza WRX) 1h43m25.1s

Vantage New Zealand Rally Championship points after the Rally of Nelson:
1, D Sumner, 264; 2, E Gilmour, 235; 3, C West, 179; 3, Hayden Paddon, 168; 5, R Mason 152.

Photo by Geoff Ridder
Get full, exclusive access for only $6.55/month.
  • Full access
  • Exclusive news
  • Store & Tour discounts

Show Your Support


Recent Posts