Rally and racing driver Rosemary Smith died yesterday, 5 December 2023, in Dublin, from cancer. She was 86.
Among her many achievements was victory on the 1965 Tulip Rally with co-driver Valerie Domleo in a works Hillman Imp, one of many factory-backed drives.
Although in an interview in Classic & Sports Car’s November 2003 issue, she shared another success that was the result she was most proud of.
“Getting an Austin Maxi home on the  London to Mexico rally. At the start Lord Stokes flagged us off and said he'd be happy if we made it to Dover.
“Over the Andes at 17,000ft you can imagine how much power it produced but we finished 10th and first lady team.”
Many years later, on 10 May 2017, then aged 79, she fulfilled a dream when she became the oldest person to drive a Formula One car, piloting a Renault round Paul Ricard: “How they let me loose in it I don’t know, but, anyway, it was fun.”
Smith was born in Dublin on 7 August 1937 and made her competitive debut behind the wheel of an MG TC at a hillclimb in the Wicklow Mountains, which led to rallying, first as a co-driver and then a driver.