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Buoyed by messages of support from friends and fans, Dunedin’s Emma Gilmour is on course to contest the third round of the national rally championship – the Wairarapa Rally – at the start of June, in a brand new Subaru Impreza WRX STI.

Gilmour seemed an unlikely starter for the Queens’ Birthday Weekend event after crashing heavily on the previous championship round, the Whangarei Rally. The 27-year old suffered mild concussion in the crash and her Vantage Team Subaru Impreza WRX STI was damaged beyond repair.

However, as Gilmour continues her recovery in Dunedin, her co-driver Glenn Macneall and other members of the team are working flat-out at the Possum Bourne Motorsport workshop in Pukekohe on a new car to continue their national rally campaign.

“The old car is a write-off, but we have been very lucky in that there was a fully-prepared shell for a new Impreza rally car sitting at Possum Bourne Motorsport,” Gilmour says. “It was originally destined for Subaru Australia, but they have agreed to let us buy it instead, which has given us a great head start in getting back into action.

“My main sponsor, Craig Vincent of Vantage Aluminium Joinery, has been absolutely instrumental in ensuring all of this has happened. Having been Possum Bourne’s co-driver, he not only has the right contacts to help, but also knows exactly what it feels like to be a competitor in this situation.

“Basically it is a case of transferring those things that are salvageable from our wrecked car to the new shell, and replacing those things that cannot be transferred,” she says.

Gilmour believes her determination to get back behind the wheel as soon as possible dates back to her equestrian days, when she was a top age-grade rider.

“One of the things I learnt then was that if you fall off the horse, you get straight back on if at all possible,” she says. “That’s the approach I am taking with rallying right now: if we were not pulling out all the stops for Wairarapa we would be waiting until the start of August for the next national round.”

Gilmour does say, though, that her early return to the national championship fray will be dependent on her recovery continuing as scheduled.

“I am in regular contact with a doctor who is an expert in this field,” she says. “There is no way I am going to rush the recovery and get behind the wheel against medical advice. Right now, though, I am improving day-by-day and am on track to return.”

In the build up to that return, Gilmour is holding an on-line auction of rally memorabilia and other items, including signed panels from her wrecked car.

“Hopefully it will raise a little money for the team, but also it is a way of saying thank you to all of those who have given me support and encouragement since our crash,” she says. “As well as the signed panels from the car, I’m putting up a very collectable poster autographed by the late Possum Bourne, and a Subaru World Rally Team shirt signed by Petter Solberg. Yamaha, which is one of my sponsors, has even donated a new TTR50 fun bike for auction!”

Other items up for auction will include a Subaru jacket, one of Gilmour’s own Vantage Team rally jackets, and a range of products donated by her sponsors. The online auction can be accessed via Gilmour’s website: www.emmagilmour.com

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