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Emma Gilmour is looking forward to this weekend's Whangarei Rally, despite the fact that her last appearance on the event ended in a spectacular crash that wrecked her car.

The Dunedin born-and-bred driver, who is now based out of Hamilton, had just won her first stage of the 2007 event when she left the road at high speed. While the accident destroyed her car and left her concussed, Gilmour is adamant past misfortunes are not going to prey on her mind heading into this weekend's event, which is round three of both the New Zealand and Asia Pacific Rally Championships.

"In fact, I really love the Whangarei Rally roads," says Gilmour. "They are nicely cambered, medium to high speed and you get a real buzz when you drive fully committed on them.

"Many of the stages are internationally-known classics, having being used on New Zealand's round of the world championship before that event shifted south to its current base in Hamilton."

Gilmour expects her Vantage Team Subaru Impreza WRX to start the event in perfect fettle, the team having worked hard since last month's Otago Rally to rectify problems that prevented her from challenging for a top result on that event.

"The team have done a great job since Otago, stripping the car and going over every single thing that could have caused our 'gremlins'. We found a few things that we have fixed, and we are confident after our test that the car is now 100%"

She is also looking forward to the extra international dimension that the Whangarei event brings through its status as a round of the Asia-Pacific series.

"While competition is intense in our national championship, the contingent of overseas drivers adds extra spice to Whangarei, and a further benchmark against which to measure your own performance."

The event's top seed, current Asia-Pacific and former Australian champion Cody Crocker is especially well known to Gilmour, having helped her in the preparation of her car in past years. Another Australian Subaru entrant, Dean Herridge, was previously co-driven by Gilmour's partner in life, Glenn MacNeall.

Gilmour, meantime, will have her regular 2008 co-driver, experienced Cantabrian Jeff Judd, calling her pace notes this weekend. The pair are the seventh-seeded Kiwis on the Whangarei event, which comprises two heats, one on the Saturday and the next on the Sunday.

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