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Emma Gilmour is nursing a sore head and bruises, but is more concerned about the condition of her Vantage Team Subaru Impreza WRX after crashing heavily on Sunday’s second leg of the Whangerei Rally.

The Dunedin-based driver had just won her first special stage of the rally, and was little more than 13 seconds off the lead for leg two of the event when disaster struck near the end of the 21.3km Waipu Caves stage.

“It is a very fast piece of road and we went off in fifth gear, ending a long way off the road in a paddock,” Gilmour said. “My side of the car took most of the impact, which was so heavy that it broke my seat and cracked my helmet.”

Reigning national champion Richard Mason stopped to provide assistance at the crash scene. Gilmour was then transferred to Whangarei hospital as a precautionary measure while co-driver Glenn Macneall remained with the car.

“I’d like to thank Richard for stopping, and of course the medics and others who assisted at the scene and afterwards,” said Gilmour.

The crash was Gilmour’s second major blow in as many days on the Whangarei event: on Saturday’s opening leg she was forced out on the seventh special stage after clipping a bridge and damaging the suspension of the car.

“We also had a spin on the first stage, so the day hadn’t started well, but we had worked our way back to sixth overall before hitting the bridge,” Gilmour said.

Having failed to score national championship points at Whangarei, Gilmour has slipped from third to sixth in the series standings. The championship also has a new leader – South Canterbury driver Hayden Paddon – who scored a sensational upset win on the event over defending Asia-Pacific and former Australian Champion Cody Crocker.

The national championship now heads to the Wairarapa on Queens’ Birthday Weekend for the third of sixth scheduled rounds.

Gilmour says she would still like to contest that event if all possible, but adds that the damage to her car is such that this may not be possible.

“Originally we had intended leaving the car in the North Island between Whangarei and Wairarapa, but now it is coming home to Dunedin,” she says. “We will assess things more fully once we are home.”

RESULTS

Whangarei Rally, National Championship Heat One
H Paddon, J Kennard (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo); 1,
S Murray, R Ryan (Subaru Impreza WRX), 2;
D Turner, S Bansal (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo), 3;
N Thomas, R Kelly (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo), 4;
S Taylor, W Searle (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo), 5;

Whangarei Rally, National Championship Heat Two
D Sumner, P Fallon  (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo); 1,
Paddon, Kennard, 2;
Murray, Ryan, 3;
Taylor, Searle, 4;
C McInnes, L Loughlin (Subaru Impreza WRX), 5.

International Rally of Whangarei Overall
Paddon, Kennard, 1; C Crocker, B Atkinson (Australia, Subaru Impreza WRX), 2; Murray. Ryan, 3; H Yanagisawa, T Misaizu (Japan, Subaru Impreza WRX), 4; Taylor, Searle, 5.


National Championship Points (provisional, after two rounds)
Paddon, 102pts; 1; Murray, 88pts, 2; R Mason, S Randall (Subaru Impreza WRX) 79pts, 3; Taylor, 61pts, 4; Turner, 57pts, 5; E Gilmour, G Macneall (Subaru Impreza WRX) 56pts, 6.

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