by Rob Wilkins
As well as competing in the WRC this season in a privately entered Ford Focus RS WRC, Guy Wilks has also been in action in the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship with Mitsubishi. Here in part 2 of our exclusive Q&A with the Englishman he speaks to Crash.net Radio
about the Pirelli International and the more recent, Jim Clark...
Guy, you are also competing in the BRC this year. What's that been like, because you started out very well on the Pirelli?
Yeah, it started out amazingly on the Pirelli. We were fastest on every stage bar three where we had a gearbox problem and lost third gear. We couldn't have wished for a better debut with the team and in the car really. Not much more I can say than that. It was more or less perfect from our point of view and everyone else's.
On the Jim Clark we were slightly more cautious at the start but then we got into it and were really having a go. We had got the lead – and quite a good lead and then the weather started to play a part. We know we are quick enough. Out of both rallies we have got almost two thirds of the stage wins, if not more. So that says a lot about our pace.
It was just a pity we were caught out on slick tyres on the Jim Clark. We had a loop of three stages and we went out from service and it was quite a long time scale and when we actually went out it was dry, although it was threatening rain. We just decided to go on slicks, because the first stage was definitely going to be dry and the second one patchy and it paid dividends on both really. We took the second of the two quite carefully when it was wet and damp, but then going into the last one there was a big downpour and unfortunately we just lost the back end.
It was very bizarre. We had effectively what you would see with a motorcycle around a race circuit - the car did a high-side. Coming around a very fast left hand bend, I had the power on and the back started to slide on the shiny part. However on the edge of the road it gripped and that threw the car back in the opposite direction, which was very strange. But that is what happened and we unfortunately went through a hedge and it put a radiator fan blade through the radiator, so obviously it wasn't wise to continue.
Next up in the BRC is the Isle of Man International Rally. Are you looking forward to that?
Yeah definitely, we know we have got the pace to win. We have just got to keep the car on the road, which we know we have got to do. We knew we had to do before - and it was just slightly unlucky [on the Jim Clark]. We weren't pushing too hard but in the wrong conditions we should have accepted we were on the wrong tyre a little bit more and respected that.
But yeah the Isle of Man, I am looking forward to it. I know we can go quickly over there. We had a great battle there last year when it was dry with Mark [Higgins] in the Super 1600 car. It is going to be another good battle. I'm looking forward to it immensely - should be good.
What is it like switching between the Lancer and the Focus?
Very different. But it is not a problem. I enjoy both of them. I have never had much experience of Group N cars and a lot of people say that they are boring and that they are this and they are that, I think maybe I had painted a bad picture in my head from what people had said
But they are actually very efficient cars and like anything, if you have got good competition in the same class it is always enjoyable to drive. The car is very good. I think considering it is more or less a road car then they are quite amazing to be honest. They are so efficient in everything they do.
But a World Rally Car is a World Rally Car and you can never take that away from it.
How are you getting on with the Mitsubishi 'UK' team and of course your team-mate, Gwyndaf Evans?
Gwyndaf has got massive knowledge and a whole bag of experience and we are not leaning on him as such, but it is nice to have him in the team. It is nice to have somebody mature in the team with you - somebody that has experience. I don't feel like I have pressure on me, I know Gwyndaf can get results if I don't. I know that Gwyndaf is a very capable driver - he has been for years. I am enjoying it. There is good atmosphere in the team and it is nice to be with someone like Gwyndaf. Gwyndaf will probably say himself he doesn't know how long he will continue but he is somebody I have probably looked up to in the past and watched on TV and it is nice to be there and beating him.
Can you stop Mark Higgins from taking the BRC title again?
Of course we can. Not a problem!
Is there anything else on the horizon apart from the BRC and WRC programmes already mentioned?
Not at the moment we are concentrating solely on those. We are working very hard to try and get some more money for the WRC to extend the programme. The BRC is all done and dusted and confirmed. We know what we are doing there. We have got a bit of a gap now - just the Manx before Rally Finland, but we will keep ourselves busy, believe me. We are always looking for budget and it is something that we need quite badly for the World Championship just to try and get these extra tests in and things like that. So that will be the main focus for the last half of the year.