‘It all happened so, so quickly’

Emma Gilmour never saw it coming.

It was a fast but "nothing corner" for the experienced Dunedin rally car driver, who has tackled many similar challenges in her years behind the wheel.

But once Gilmour travelled around the bend in Sardinia, racing in a practice session for the seventh and eighth rounds of the Extreme E series in September, she realised she was in trouble.

Gilmour noticed her car was coming round at an unusual angle.

"It all happened so, so quickly," Gilmour said.

"I was instantly thinking, ‘how am I going to try and save this?’

"Then [it] just dug in and at that point, I just closed my eyes and hoped for the best."

The best never came, as her car rolled several times at high speed, crashing around her as the dust hung in the air.

"Once I could open my eyes again, you’re sitting there in a destroyed car.

"Because I blacked out ... I didn’t really know the full extent of the crash. I knew it was big, but I didn’t experience it, so to speak."

When she regained consciousness, Gilmour was covered in blood — rocks had hit her face through the broken windscreen — but otherwise felt fine.

Dunedin driver Emma Gilmour is on the mend after a high-speed crash in Sardinia. Photos: Gregor...
Dunedin driver Emma Gilmour is on the mend after a high-speed crash in Sardinia. Photos: Gregor Richardson/supplied
It was not until she was being treated in hospital that she realised her ribs were sore.

She walked away from the accident with a broken rib, concussion, a stiff neck and a sore knee.

Speaking to her parents back home in New Zealand, Gilmour downplayed the crash. It was not until the next day when she watched the footage she realised, "wow, that was really big".

"I do remember everything around the crash. It was a really unusual accident because I didn’t see it coming at all."

Two months on, Gilmour, who returned to Dunedin days after the crash, is feeling good and on the mend, working through her fatigue and ongoing concussion symptoms.

"I know that I’m still not 100% yet, but on the path of recovery.

"I sort of feel like I’ve made the biggest gains now."

But she is not ready to get back behind the wheel just yet, making the decision to withdraw from the final leg of the Extreme E series in Chile next weekend.

While it had been a tough decision, it was what was best for her right now — but it did not define her career.

"I’ve definitely got itchy feet to be racing again."