With two consecutive years of wins at the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), the Motor Image Rally Team is not resting on its laurels. Achieving the manufacturers' title and the driver's championship in both 2007 and 2008, it is charging into this year's APRC season with a new assembled in Singapore car and an exciting new driver. The first female driver to compete in the APRC series, 29-year old Emma Gilmour will be starting with her first leg in Rally Queensland, Australia. Returning champion Cody Crocker, who continues to be the man to beat, will be the first driver to win the APRC championship four times in a row if he scores another championship this year. Both cars will compete under a new name - Motor Image Racing Team (MIRT).
"I'm confident our star driver, Cody Crocker, with the new car will once again clinch the championship. Our new car has been tuned to the maximum to best exploit Subaru's capabilities in the maneuvering of the rough courses in the APRC series," said Mr Glenn Tan, Team Principal of Motor Image Racing Team. "With the change in our team's name, we'll be looking to explore more than just rallying in the future."
MIRT will be using the new MY09 Subaru WRX STI model for the 2009 APRC season. The MY09 is a different car than the MY07 used by the team in the last two years. It sports a new hatch body and a more sophisticated multi-link rear suspension, with a computer-controlled inlet and exhaust camshafts. In preparation for the diverse terrains of the APRC, MIRT engineers have extensively tested the new rally car in Malaysia.
Gilmour, who hails from New Zealand, will be driving for MIRT together with her female co-driver, Tarryn Cox. Her debut in the 2002 Targa Bambina Rally, New Zealand, showed that she was a talent to watch. With her father as her co-driver, she came in sixth overall from a total of 98 entries. She has clocked impressive runs in numerous rallies including the New Zealand Rally Championship and was even invited to compete in the Bettega Memorial Trophy in 2006. Gilmour was also the winner of the Rally Founders Trophy in 2006 for performing with distinction and demonstrating a sportsman-like attitude worthy of an ambassador for the sport.
"Speed is in my blood and I have always grown up around cars, so rallying is a sport I relish. I'm charged up and can't wait to get behind the wheel to do some serious rallying," says Gilmour excitedly. "It's such a privilege to be working with an excellent team with great expertise. I am looking forward to competing with Cody Crocker and hope to eventually one day snatch the championship title from him."
Rally car racing is considered the extreme sport of automobile racing as drivers and their co-drivers push their modified road cars to the limit as they achieve blistering speeds over the courses of gravel and dirt roads, which explains why top rally drivers are considered some of the best car control experts in the world.