Gilmour selected for Desert drive

Gilmour selected for Desert drive

e576cbde-cb34-4f7f-bb49-3465f13f3f3bNew Zealand’s fastest dealer principal, Emma Gilmour has beaten tough competition to win a fully-funded rally drive in Qatar.

Gilmour’s co-driver will be Lisette Bakker, from the Netherlands.

The pair were selected as the outright winning driver and co-driver in the joint FIA Women in Motorsport and Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) cross country rally selection after a five-day training camp in the Qatar desert.

The rally, in April, will be the third round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies.

“I’m just overwhelmed, it’s been an amazing week and the experience in itself of doing something in which you have no experience, and to be driving around sand dunes, has been amazing,” Dunedin-based Gilmour says.

“Now to win and to have another go at the dunes, I just feel very privileged and lucky,” The Suzuki franchisee says. “I also now know I need to be fitter for the rally; having got stuck in the sand today I was very hot and sweated a lot so yes, need to be fitter, and probably if there’s an opportunity to do more training, that would be great as there’s nothing like experience and mileage.”

Gilmour thanked Motorsport New Zealand for the nomination and says she is looking forward to representing New Zealand on the world stage again.

The inaugural FIA Women in Motorsport-QMMF Women’s Cross Country Selection was all about finding one female crew to contest the 2016 Sealine Cross Country, but the success of the project has inspired all, and in a revelation during the press conference, Nasser Al-Attiyah announced that QMMF would be funding an additional two cars on the event for the second-placed crew of Molly Taylor/Yasmeen Elmajed and third-placed Cristina Gutierrez Herrero/Lara Vanneste.

The project, which was the brainchild of Michèle Mouton, Jutta Kleinschmidt and QMMF President Nasser Al-Attiyah, supports and promotes the participation of women in the discipline of cross country rallying. It received 85 applications from 39 countries and, after an initial selection, 18 drivers and co-drivers were chosen to participate in the five-day training and selection process which culminated in the announcement of the winners in Doha on November 6.

Under the expert guidance of Kleinschmidt, the first and to date only woman to win the Dakar Rally, and multiple rally and cross country winning co-driver Fabrizia Pons, the women underwent an intense training programme in the desert, covering all areas related to the art of cross country rallying, including driving skills, dune and sand training, navigation, mechanics and tactical awareness.

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