Gemma Wheeler successfully battled against treacherous conditions on last Saturday's Wyedean Forest rally to take fourth place in the Rally First class in a rallyschool.co.uk
After the organisers made a decision to go ahead with the event, the rally started from a cold Chepstow racecourse with the crews heading for the first loop of stages, three in the forests and one at the racecourse itself.
The smaller engined two wheel drive cars, such as Gemma's, run first on the road on these events, which is usually an advantage - but on the Wyedean it meant that they faced the toughest conditions with the forest stages covered in snow and ice. Gemma and co-driver Will Rogers managed to keep the car on the road though and arrived back in Chepstow for the main service halt of the event in an excellent second in class.
"The organisers made a good decision to go ahead to run the event, the opening stages were extremely slippery but very enjoyable," said Gemma. "I was delighted to complete the first loop of stages in second in class".
Following the cancellation of the Mailscot stage due to dangerous conditions the crews faced a further two stages after service. With the snow and ice thawing the faster cars were able to get the power down and Gemma dropped to fourth in class in the 106 but she was still very pleased with the result.
"The event was awesome, it was my second time driving on snow - the first time was this event two years ago. I didn't enjoy it so much then but this time was fantastic,” she concluded.
“The car was brilliant, I did not get a chance to drive it before the event but I was pleased to get to grips with it quickly.
“My thanks go to rallyschool.co.uk
for preparing it and to Will for stepping in to co-drive for me. Everything was a bit last minute but the end result was worth it!"
The Rally First championship moves on to the Minehead based Somerset Stages rally in April and Gemma will be looking to build on the experience she gained when she contested the 2008 event in a Ford Focus.