Outstanding Kiwi driver Emma Gilmour today signed on as the first driver to commit to WRC Rally New Zealand in Auckland, part of the FIA World Rally Championship this year.
The WRC will return for the 32nd time to New Zealand with the 11th round of the 2022 world championships to be staged in and around Auckland from 29 September to 2 October.
Gilmour, is one of New Zealand’s best rally drivers having finished runner-up in the New Zealand Rally Championships three times, and was the first female to win a round of the championship along with being a runner-up in a round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship.
Along with Gilmour is the announcement that her long-time sponsor Vantage Windows & Doors (a brand of APL Window Solutions) has signed on as the event’s first elite sponsor.
The company has supported rallying in New Zealand for more than 25 years including past versions of WRC Rally New Zealand. They also back two-time national champion Ben Hunt.
“It is very fitting for Emma to sign on as our first entry, not just because of her successful background in the sport but also as she begins an exciting global role as driver for the famous McLaren Racing in the global Extreme E Series,” said WRC Rally New Zealand Auckland chairman, Peter Johnston.
“Our team is hard at work planning for a return of the WRC to the best rally roads in the world, but we need the support of drivers like Emma, and of course her sponsors Vantage who are such wonderful supporters of our sport.
“An event like the WRC and our sport just does not happen without the backing and generosity of brands like Vantage.”
Gilmour is equally pleased with the return of the WRC to Auckland.
“It’s very exciting to have the pinnacle of world rallying returning to New Zealand. It’s a cliché line but our roads are the best in the world to rally on. They’re smooth – so they don’t break the car, the roads have camber which allows the car a lot more grip and gives the best sensation when dancing the car at high speed from corner to corner and jumping over the camber,” said Gilmour.
“We have great support for the event with a huge motorsport passion in New Zealand so there will be lots of fans out on the stages.”
Gilmour acknowledges that she owes much to the support from Vantage.
“I feel very honoured to represent such a great New Zealand brand who has supported me through both the highs and the lows of my career to date.”
Group CEO Craig Vincent (head of the APL group), former co-driver for the late Possum Bourne, said his company is delighted to support both the drivers and the event.
“Emma has represented the brand for 17 years and the Vantage WRC car has become a bit of a cult with the fans and more recently Ben Hunt has also joined the Vantage team,” said Vincent.
“We are very proud to be coming on board to assist bringing the WRC back to New Zealand as a major sponsor this year.
“High performance sports are very much a part of the Vantage high performance brand and DNA as we support many sporting codes in New Zealand. Much of this support goes all the way down to grassroots level and to provide for events like the World Rally Championship that bring the public out to watch and enjoy.”
Pre-registration for tickets is now open for the event by signing up to GRAVEL at www.rallynewzealand.com.