WRC » 23 November 2006
JWRC: Q&A: Guy Wilks - EXCLUSIVE.
Looking back at the season so far, overall, you have had some notable results - your JWRC wins in Argentina and in Finland - but overall it's not quite come together has it?
It has been a very frustrating year to be brutally honest. We started the year in Sweden, it was decided by the team that we wouldn't take on any tarmac challenges, which was a bit disappointing for me, but it could have paid off and proved the right decision had things gone more for us. We had a driveshaft problem in Sweden, while we were lying fourth and we were looking like we could have taken third. We lost all of those points with the driveshaft problem.
Then on the second round in Argentina, we led from the very first stage to the last. We led the rally from start to finish.
In Sardinia we had a tactical battle there. We decided we didn't want to lead the rally outright straight away, because we knew punctures would come into play. And we played our tactics out and it proved perfect - only for an oil pipe to come off with three and a half stages to go. Then the engine blew up because it lost all of the oil. That stripped us of ten points. We were 2 minutes and 40 seconds up on everybody else in the rally. It was ours and it just shows what can happen in rallying. It is never over until you are at the finish on the podium.
Finland was fantastic – I have got to say, it was absolutely the highlight of the year. I have been chasing to win that since 2003 and for one reason or another it has always eluded us. But as everybody knows Finland is the fastest rally in the world championship on gravel and it still has the presence of the team managers to be the one, if you are a driver worth his salt, then you will go quick there. We proved that again. We have always gone quick there - but we have usually had mechanical problems and so to get the win at last was fantastic.
Turkey, what can I say? It was just a catalogue of problems. Very frustrating, resulting in the last problem we had, that we hooked up in some very deep ruts after the horrendous weather and the car just slowly rolled over. Fortunately we still managed to keep fourth position and that has potentially kept us in the fight for the championship.
It is very weird with this appeal still pending, it is a shame they couldn't have held it a little bit sooner isn't it?
Well, I suppose it adds to the drama doesn't it? For people looking from the outside in, it makes them hang on that little bit longer and I suppose to a certain extent it might create a hell of a buzz. I mean [if the stewards' decision stands] there is one driver, Urmo Aava on 30 points, P-G is on 29 points, Patrik Sandell is on 28 and I myself are on 26. So if I win, I need hopefully Kris Meeke to come second ideally and then it wouldn't matter if P-G or Urmo came third, I would win because I have the most wins in the championship calendar this year.
So it has been very frustrating - just to go back to how the year has gone. We have led four out of five rallies this year and only come away with two wins, which has been quite annoying. But at the same time, if we have a chance of winning the championship, with the things that have gone on, then that is fantastic.
Looking at things post-Rally GB and to 2007, what's happening on that front? Can you reveal anything?
Have you got any money? Because that is what it is down to, we are desperately in need of some sponsorship. Obviously we are chasing that at the moment. Ideally I would like to be in a WRC car. My 1600 contact is up with Suzuki, so that leaves me free to chase whatever I like. And not that we won't be in talks with Suzuki over what is happening with the WRC car for next year, but ideally I want to be in a competitive WRC car next year - as soon as possible. I believe in myself and it's not to say, some people believe in themselves even though, we might say they don't have the talent. I know I can do a good job and I believe we could surprise a few people. It is just we need an opportunity to get into a car to be able to prove that.
You had a chance in a WRC car of course, just prior to Turkey, when you competed in Ireland. And you have been doing the BRC as well, although not of course in a WRC car, as they are not allowed in it anymore. But you have certainly been keeping busy away from the JWRC haven't you?
Yeah definitely, I have had to invest in my own future if you like. Doing the BRC has kept me match fit and an opportunity arose to go and potentially drive a WRC car in Ireland, against Eugene Donnelly, the current Irish tarmac championship holder, Mark Higgins and Markko Martin. And we thought it was too good an opportunity to miss. I couldn't at that point afford to go and do a WRC event in a World Rally Car, so we thought this was the next best thing. We went out there and proved our pace straight away - and definitely did surprise a lot of people. I was comfortably leading Markko by over a minute on the first day and Mark Higgins by 30 seconds, so our pace was definitely proven.
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