Dunedin’s Emma Gilmour has confirmed the entry of her Citroen C3 Rally 2 car for the 23 September Daybreaker Rally.
She will fly direct from the recently confirmed Sardinia Italy round of the Extreme E series and return to New Zealand just in time to join co-driver Nicole Summerfield for pre-event reconnaissance.
The event covers 150km of rural road through Manawatu and Rangitikei districts, divided into nine competitive special stages, and is the penultimate round of the New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC).
One of 93 confirmed entrants, Gilmour and Summerfield will start from position five, behind Hayden Paddon/John Kennard, Shane van Gisbergen/Glenn Weston, Bent Hunt/Tony Rawstorn and Raana Horan/Michael Connor.
“I’m really looking forward to doing the Daybreaker and being back in that part of the country again. It’ll only be my second time in the car as I’ve been away overseas with Extreme E, so haven’t done a rally in New Zealand since Otago in April. Plus, I’m looking forward to having Nicole in the car,” said Gilmour, who drives for McLaren and is their only female factory driver.
While arriving fresh from international competition, Gilmour says her attention will be on getting the most from her Citroen: “It’s a very competitive field – the best we’ve seen all season. While the expectation is we’ll be up there, my focus is going to be on enjoying the roads and getting quality mileage in my still new car. It will be the same for Nicole. Even though we’re both very competitive, having fun will be our first objective.”
Gilmour and Summerfield join 92 other teams competing at the revival event. Brought to life to replace cancelled NZRC rounds in nearby flood-affected regions, the Daybreaker Rally will again be a championship focus.
Led by Paddon (Cromwell) and Kennard (Blenheim) on 88 points, its second placed Horan (Auckland) and Connor (Taupō) on 83 points that, brings pressure to the current six-time champion.
The team’s line-up in Feilding’s Manchester Square from 5 pm Friday 22 September, ahead of an autograph session and ceremonial start at 6pm.
They will take to the roads from 5:30 am Saturday morning and begin arriving at the first timed test inland of Ōhingaiti at 6:38am. The journey heads north toward Taihape for the first of two service breaks before returning south. Compounding the challenge is the 42km Geartech Sandon Block stage which is followed by the bonus points Power Stage near Kimbolton.
Header Image: Dunedin’s Emma Gilmour is a confirmed entry for the 23 September Daybreaker Rally – a week after she contests the Sardinia round of the Extreme E series. Image: Supplied