AUSTIN, Texas -- Australian driver Sarah Burgess has been forced to drop out of the Ford RallyCross event at X Games Austin, where she was scheduled to make her X Games debut as one of two female drivers facing off against the men because of mechanical issues.
"They encountered an issue in testing, unfortunately," Andrea Sobel, a spokeswoman for Red Bully Global RallyCross, confirmed on Tuesday.
Burgess, the team owner of BMI Racing, had planned to compete in the #04 Chevrolet Sonic; she's previously competed on the Xtreme Drift Circuit, where she drives a Mustang GT. She will not be replaced by an alternate, according to an X Games spokesperson, reducing the field to 19 drivers.
New Zealand's Emma Gilmour will now make history as the lone female driver behind the wheel at X Games, racing against the men -- an X Games RallyCross first -- when competition begins on Saturday at Austin's Circuit of the Americas.
Gilmour has said that "there are no physical limitations" for women competing against men in RallyCross, and is out to prove it. "I know that I'm fast," she told XGames.com last month. "Not just: 'fast, for a female.' I'm outright fast."
Gilmour drove the #27 Hyundai Veloster for Rhys Millen Racing in the 2014 Red Bull Global RallyCross opener last month at the Top Gear Festival in Barbados, becoming the first woman to race in the GRC, and is currently ranked 12th of 20 drivers competing for the 2014 GRC Driver's Championship.
In Barbados she finished 12th of 13 drivers in the qualifying round, ahead of X Games veteran Bucky Lasek, then failed to advance out of her heat race, finishing fifth behind Tanner Foust, Brian Deegan, and Austin Dyne. In the Last Chance Qualifier she finished sixth out of seven drivers, again ahead of Lasek, missing the cut for finals.
"I learned heaps and kept improving throughout the practice, qualifying and heats," Gilmour told RedBullRallyCross.com, after the LCQ in Barbados. "Despite the racing being a big learning curve, I really enjoyed it. I can't wait for the next round at the X Games in Austin."