Sunday, 26 April 2009

Gemma maintains champion position in Somerset

Albourne based rally driver Gemma Wheeler maintained her position in the BTRDA Rally First championship last weekend when she finished eighth on the Somerset Stages event in a Peugeot 106.

The opening stage saw Gemma and new co-driver Emma Morrison finish 15th in the Rally First class but they picked up the pace over the next four forest stages to move up to 11th at the first service halt of the rally.

“I was disappointed with the opening stages. This was the first chance I’ve had to drive the car in normal conditions, the only other time I’ve driven it was on the snow and ice of the Wyedean rally,” said Gemma.

“I struggled with the handling, the car was really lively over the bumps and I backed off rather than risk having an off.”

In a change from the usual gravel forest tracks the rally had two stages on the tarmac of Porlock Hill next and Gemma, who is supported by Albany Homes Southern, moved up to ninth place in her prepared car.

Three more forestry stages were scheduled but an accident earlier in the event meant that one was cancelled, leaving two stages until the rally finish. Gemma maintained her pace and moved up another place to eighth.

“Porlock is my favourite stage, I enjoyed the two runs up the hill. The long Croydon stage was excellent too with some long straights to get some speed up.”

“The result means I maintain my championship position but overall I’m a little disappointed with the performance. Hopefully I will be able to do some testing in the car to get more used to the handling before the next round.”

Gemma will be competing on the next championship round, the Plains rally, in three weeks time. To keep up to date with her rallying please visit