Emma Gilmour has confirmed that she will be back behind the wheel of her Suzuki Swift Maxi rally car for the 2014 New Zealand National Rally Championship, with the experienced Australian, Ben Atkinson, as her co-driver for the six-round series.
After treating 2013 as a development year for her highly modified Swift, Gilmour states that her aim for the season ahead is to press for victory.
“Last year we were certainly on a steep learning curve with a brand-new home-built car, but by the end of the season we had started to find the right combination of speed and reliability,” she says. “Further development work and testing over the summer has taken the car to the point at which I am confident it will be good enough to compete for outright honours.”
Gilmour is delighted to confirm Ben Atkinson as her co-driver for 2014. The brother of Australian world rally championship driver Chris Atkinson, Ben’s extensive rallying CV includes co-driving for his brother in the WRC, and for fellow Australian Cody Crocker on the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship.
“Ben has competed at the very highest level in the sport and has been an international championship winner as a co-driver, so the experience he brings to the team will be really valuable,” says Gilmour. “He has sat in the co-driver’s seat for me before and we worked really well together, but this is the first time we will be contesting a full championship together.”
The change of co-driver aside, the core of Gilmour’s team remains unchanged from last season, with Lindsay Tressler from Gore continuing to prepare the Suzuki between events.
The team’s established commercial partnerships will continue too, with Suzuki and Vantage Aluminium Joinery the primary partners. Other companies supporting the bid include Gilmour Motors, Metalman, Supercharge, Castrol, PPG Paint, Pfitzner Performance Gearboxes, Hella, Apparelmaster, Interislander, Rothbury, Dunlop, Rock radio station, Metalspray and Arai helmets.
Emma’s 2014 national rally programme comprises the following events:
Brian Green Properties New Zealand Rally Championship
Rally of Whangarei, 11-13 April
Rally of Otago, 10-11 May
Canterbury Rally, 01-02 June
Rally Wairarapa, 28 June
Rally New Zealand (Coromandel) 23 August
Daybreaker Rally (Manawatu), 27 September