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A bitterly disappointed Emma Gilmour has been forced to withdraw from this weekend’s Possum Bourne Memorial Rally before it has even started, due to an ongoing issue with the highly modified engine of her newly-built Suzuki Swift Maxi rally car.

The Dunedin-based driver retired from the recent Canterbury Rally due to concerns over the engine’s excessive water use. The motor, which features extensive after-market enhancements, was sent away after the Canterbury event to have the suspected problem rectified, but subsequent testing last weekend and earlier this week has revealed that it remains.

“The team have had two test sessions on the track in the past five days,” says Gilmour. “We headed off to the first one expecting to find everything was sorted, but unfortunately that is not the case.”

“We are not 100% at the bottom of it yet, but we have some further ideas to work on following our second track test and subsequent time with the engine on the dyno. It is certainly to do with some of the changes that have been made to massively increase the performance of a very reliable base motor supplied by Suzuki.”

Gilmour says that while her team and commercial partners always knew that 2013 was going to be a “research and development year”, it is still a blow for all concerned not to be able to make the start this weekend. She adds that is specially so for her crew, who have worked tirelessly in an effort to have the car ready to run.

There is also a personal note to her own disappointment, as Gilmour followed the late Possum Bourne in competing for the Vantage Aluminium Joinery team at the Race to the Sky Hillclimb, and has since demonstrated the highly modified car he used on that event in competition.

“This is the 10th running of the Possum Bourne Memorial Rally.  It is based in his old home town of Pukekohe, and I would really love to be out there on stages having a few skids in his honour. Sadly, that is not going to be the case.”

Gilmour says her aim is now to have her car ready to run strongly at the sixth round of the New Zealand Rally Championship, which will be held in the Wairarapa on 6 October.

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