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Kiwi rally driver Emma Gilmour blasted her rivals in the fifth round of the SportingTrophy International (FSTi) series by setting her first fastest stage time in the one make series which runs as part of selected FIA Junior World Rally Championship rounds.

Gilmour belied her lack of experience in the series and competing in WRC events by heading the Fiesta ST times in the second stage on Friday of Neste Oil Rally Finland, the 11.83 km Laukaa.

“I’m delighted with the fastest time on SS3. It was a fast stage with few junctions, just like home,” said Gilmour. “It has been good fun. There are big rocks in the road and it is very rough in places. In the fast stuff it is going really well. I just need to learn how to drive the car more through the tight junctions.”

The 26 year-old New Zealander is contesting this event with backing from Castrol and Dream Drive Promotions Ltd as part of a two rally campaign including last weekend’s OMV ADAC Rallye Deutschland.

Unfortunately the rest of the Kiwi’s day did not go so well. In service her engine’s ECU was not reconnected correctly leading to a time penalty for leaving the service late. This and two punctures meant Gilmour and co-driver Claire Mole ended the day as seventh Fiesta ST competitor.

“The ECU problem dropped the car into ‘safety mode’ and it wouldn’t rev. We got this fixed at the following service but then we got another puncture of the penultimate stage today. Where it’s smooth and fast I’m loving it!”

With the stages used twice over the day and the two-wheel-drive GpN Fiesta STs running late in the field, the course becomes very challenging.

“It was so rough on the second time through,” said Gilmour. “It’s crazy really, just so hard on the wee cars, but we made it through.”

The second leg of Neste Oil Rally Finland on Saturday 19th August sees 145 km of competitive distance over nine stages.

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