Gilmour And Mole Reunite To Rally An R5 In UK Event
Capitalising on an extended overseas experience, New Zealand’s fastest female rally driver Emma Gilmour is teaming up with top Scottish co-driver Claire Mole to compete in the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally.
The female super-duo will contest the October 30 event, which is the final round of four local championships, in a Ford Fiesta R5 MkII.
“I’m a bit stuck because I can’t get an MIQ spot to come home to New Zealand after the Sardinia round of Extreme E on October 23 and 24. I’ve been staying with Claire in Scotland and after reminiscing about our past rallying escapades, we decided to grab the opportunity to do it again!” Dunedin’s Gilmour says.
She and Mole are no strangers to crewing in a car together and their rally partnership dates back to 2006, when Gilmour needed a co-driver at short notice to compete in the WRC Rally Finland. Mole jumped into the navigator’s seat and the pairing instantly clicked, taking stage wins in the Ford Fiesta ST Championship on Ouninpohja and other famous Finnish rally stages.
In 2008, they teamed up again to finish 16th overall in the WRC Rally of New Zealand, and in 2009 they were second overall in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship.
Gilmour says she can’t wait to get behind the wheel of an R5.
“It’s the best class of car out there that’s accessible at a world level. Obviously, it’s not a WRC car but it’s the next best thing. I’d like to say a big thanks to Martin Wilkinson and CA1 Sport Ltd, who will be running the R5.”
“I’m also really looking forward to rallying with Claire. We haven’t been in the car together since 2013 when we did the International Rally of Whangarei in my Vantage Windows and Doors Suzuki Swift AP4, which was pretty early on in its development back then,” Gilmour says.
She is excited about driving in the United Kingdom again and taking on North Wales’s challenging forestry roads. The last time Gilmour competed in Wales was 15 years ago when she contested the WRC Rally GB with Mole in a Ford Fiesta ST.
“We are still finalising our partners for the event, however there is plenty of signage space for any companies that may be interested in supporting us,” Gilmour says.
Now in its 66th year, the Cambrian Rally is recognised as one of the best rallies in the UK. Organised by the North Wales Car Club, it comprises 70 competitive kilometres over seven stages.
Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally Clerk of the Course Alyn Edwards says: "As an event we are very pleased to welcome Emma to the Cambrian and the beautiful area of Conwy which bears some resemblance to her native South Island of New Zealand. We are thrilled that Emma has chosen our event to compete in whilst she is stranded in the UK waiting to go home to New Zealand and that she’s reuniting with long term co-driver Clare Mole.”
“It's also very exciting to have an all-female crew on the event in a top quality car that can challenge for overall honours. We wish them both all the best,” Edwards says.
Gilmour is widely recognised internationally for her achievements in rally, rally cross and cross-country competition. Reserve driver for Veloce Racing in the all-electric, off-road Extreme E series, she recently competed in the Arctic round in Greenland and will drive in the Island round in Sardinia in a fortnight.
Competing as a factory driver for the Hyundai USA Global Rally Cross team in 2014, she reached the finals in Las Vegas and the semi-finals of the X Games.
Gilmour’s career highlights include winning the prestigious FIA Women in Motorsport and QMMF Cross Country Selection in 2015. She became the first woman to win a round of the New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) when she claimed victory in the 2016 Rally of Canterbury. Gilmour was runner-up in the NZRC over three consecutive years.
One of the most experienced co-drivers in the United Kingdom, Mole has competed internationally for manufacturer teams and top drivers, including Robbie Head, Gwyndaf Evans, Louise Aitken-Walker, Mats Andersson and Mark Higgins.
She is currently competing in the KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship with driver Michael Binnie.