Monday, May 7 02:36pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Fourth place finish sends Emma Gilmour up the NZRC standings

Fourth place at the ENEOS International Rally of Whangarei has bolted Emma Gilmour up the points standings to third.


Joined by co-driver Anthony McLoughlin, Gilmour put in a valiant effort to maintain third in the order after a strong start to the rally. However, she eventually succumbed to pressure by Australian Nathan Quinn and his co-driver David Calder.


Driving the Vantage Windows and Doors AP4-specification Suzuki Swift MAXI, Gilmour wasn’t able to hold onto the position.


In a Neil Allport Motorsport-prepared Ford Fiesta R5, Quinn was quick throughout all of Sunday’s leg of the rally. Quinn was consistently just a fraction ahead of Gilmour throughout the final day of the rally, which eventually saw her 34.2 second adrift of the podium.


The Northland rally took in 277km, which saw the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship share the stage with the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship season opener.


The rally was eventually won outright by World Rally Championship event winner Hayden Paddon and new one-off co-driver Malcolm Peden. Ben Hunt and Tony Rawston finished second in their Subaru WRC STi seven minute and 26 seconds in arears.


Gilmour said she was stoked to be running up the front once again and enjoyed the challenge.

“It was a really good competitive weekend and although it would have been nice to be on the podium, we had a great battle with Nathan and banked some important NZRC points,” Gilmour said.

“We came out of the Otago Rally disappointed that our last stage puncture cost us the podium and did some work on the car. We came out firing on the foggy first stage yesterday and got a good break on the rest of the NZRC field.”


Gilmour sits equal third in the points with 2017 championship runner-up Matt Summerfield after two rounds. The pair have 43 points to their name respectively with four rounds remaining in the 2018 season.


Gilmour said the second half of Sunday’s running slightly hurt their efforts to maintain third place.

“Over the second pass we struggled slightly with the roads having more grip and becoming cleaned out as the field went back through.


“We made some changes to the set-up overnight and the Suzuki ran faultlessly today,” Emma says.

The NZRC next heads to Canterbury over Queen's Birthday Weekend on June 3 for the third round.


Photo: Geoff Ridder