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A final medical check on Tuesday has cleared Emma Gilmour to start this weekend’s third round of the (NZ) national rally championship in the Wairarapa.

The 27 year old Dunedin driver will contest the Queen’s Birthday Weekend event just 20 days after a high speed crash on the Whangarei Rally that left her unconscious, and her Vantage Team Subaru Impreza WRX a write off.

Gilmour’s team has worked flat-out to ready a new car for the event, while she has been following doctor’s orders to be sure of regaining her competition licence, which was automatically suspended due to the concussion she suffered in the crash.

“What started as a race against time to prepare a new car also became something similar for me,” says Gilmour. “The medical advice was for me to take things easy, so I didn’t drive again for several days after the crash. I felt things were really starting to come right late last week, and that was confirmed at my medical check yesterday [Tuesday].”

While she has been passed as fit to compete, Gilmour is cautious in her predictions for the two-day Wairarapa event.

“I was leading for much of the second day at the championship opener at Otago, and had just won a special stage before crashing in Whangarei, but I’m not expecting to able to show that kind of pace straight away this weekend,” she says. “We’ll be using the Saturday stages as a test day and getting used to the new car, which won’t have been tested on gravel before.”

Gilmour’s co-driver and partner, Glenn Macneall, has spent much of the past three weeks in Pukekohe, where members of Gilmours team have been working hard at the Possum Bourne Motorsport workshops to prepare her new car for this weekend.

“There have certainly been some late nights, but there hasn’t been a single complaint along the way,” Macneall says. “It is amazing to think that just a short time ago we were looking at a totally wrecked rally car, and now we have a replacement that will be even better once it is fully sorted.”

Gilmour says she has been humbled by the dedication her team has shown in preparing her new Impreza, and by the public support she has received since the crash.

An online auction of damaged panels of her wrecked car and other items, including rallying memorabilia and products donated by sponsors, is on course to raise over $4000 towards the cost of the new car.

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