by Rob Wilkins

TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL WITH GUY WILKS: CLICK HERE

Guy Wilks took the PWRC win on the Rally GB earlier this month en-route to securing both victories in the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship category and the BRC title itself. Crash.net Radio caught up with the Englishman recently to chat to him about his success in Wales - and on the inaugural Rally Ireland, where he finished sixth overall in a Subaru Impreza, his sixth outing this year in the WRC with a World Rally Car...

Crash.net:
Guy, congratulations, a great end to the season for you, you must have been well pleased?

Guy Wilks:
Yeah, a fantastic end to the season. OK, the British championship started off really well on the Pirelli, so to actually finally clinch the British Rally Championship is fantastic. It was my first opportunity to win the championship and we've done it.

Crash.net:
How important was it for you to take the BRC title?

GW:
Very important. I'd been offered the chance early on this year, around mid-January. I thought long and hard about it and didn't actually say yes until the end of March. I needed to make sure that everything was right; that we could commit to the whole championship, myself and Phil [Pugh - my co-drier], that we had the right car, right team and right funding. It wasn't until I knew everything was correct that I said yes.

Crash.net:
How hard was the Rally GB, especially as it was a double points scoring event?

GW:
It was double points, but I don't think it mattered whether it was double points, triple points or single points! The event was still very, very difficult. The weather threw everything at us that it could. Only snow and ice was missing. Very heavy rain, thick fog, patchy fog. It really was treacherous going, so very challenging.

Crash.net:
What did you think of those night stages?

GW:
Personally I like night rallying. I think it adds a different dimension to rallying as well as a really good atmosphere. I wouldn't imagine it was great fun standing in those conditions, but the atmosphere you have with night rallying probably made it a little bit easier for the spectators to be stood out there. Yes it was very difficult, but I enjoyed it myself, even though I did lose my light pod on one of the night stages! I really do like night rallying.

Crash.net:
You took the PWRC win in Wales as well as both BRC victories. Was the Production win the icing on the cake?

GW:
It was the icing on the cake, but it definitely wasn't the idea at the start. I needed to make sure that I won the BRC above everything. All the media beforehand kept saying 'you have a good chance of winning the production round as well'. I suppose I maybe got a bit boring, because I kept saying 'if that comes then fine, but I'm really not bothered about it'. It was quite clear after the first three stages that it was a distinct possibility, but it only came about because myself, Phil and Mitsubishi were trying to win the British championship first. It was an added extra if you like.

Crash.net:
You also had a very good result prior to GB in Ireland, when you scored your first 'senior' WRC points...

GW:
We'd been trying all year to score points [in the WRC]. We'd had three top ten finishes before we went to Ireland, but it had been a difficult year in the Focus up until then. We had the opportunity to drive the Subaru in Ireland, took it, and I'm really glad that we did. The stages in Ireland were really challenging due to the weather conditions, which were very similar to Wales; small amount of fog, but mainly the amount of rain and how wet the roads were. I was thrilled to get my first senior WRC points.

Crash.net:
How did you find the Impreza compared to the Focus?

GW:
They are both good cars, it's a case of different characteristics. I'd driven a Subaru once before in Ireland and knew it was very good over the bumps. We were offered the car for a good rate, if you like. The sponsorship was there to be able to take that opportunity and that's what we did. It was fantastic to be the first privateer. We finished sixth overall and every single car in front of us was a manufacturer car; Sebastien Loeb, Dani Sordo, Jari-Matti Latvala, Mikko Hirvonen and Petter Solberg. All the latest specification of cars and those guys had competed in those cars at every single world championship event - we turned up in car we didn't know that well and did a great job. So really chuffed.

Crash.net:
What are your plans now for 2008?

GW:
They are shaping up quite well. Obviously I was a chosen finalist for the Pirelli Star Driver award which took place in Cumbria, but I withdrew from that because I have an opportunity which is very similar to the Pirelli Star Driver prize. So I felt it was unfair for me to compete for that prize as well. I withdrew so that the guys could compete between themselves for that and know that I was no longer a factor from the outset. I have got some opportunities for next year in the British championship, but I'm working hard on the world championship as well.

Crash.net:
Any idea when we might something more on those plans?

GW:
I think either right before Christmas or not long after, hopefully we should know a lot more by then although in motorsport you never really know until everything is signed, sealed and delivered. It's early days but things are looking encouraging.

Crash.net:
Are you still in talks with Suzuki?

GW:
I'll be honest, no not that much at all. It'd be good to see them pick two good drivers for the line-up of that car [Guy was speaking prior to this weeks announcement that Suzuki had opted for Toni Gardemeister and Per-Gunnar Andersson - ed]. Obviously it made its debut in Corsica and did Wales as well - it'd be nice to see them pick perhaps some more competitive drivers, if I'm talking bluntly and honestly. That's my point of view, although it's quite clear that the car needs a lot more development.

Crash.net:
What are your plans for Christmas?

GW:
I'm going skiing! Can't wait for that. I'm going with some friends for just under a week. It's something that I love to do and, although it's not a motorsport, it's similar to rallying in terms of the thrill and the adrenalin rush. Then I'll probably have a quiet Christmas and go away again for the New Year with my girlfriend.

Kindly transcribed by Pete McLaren.

TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL WITH GUY WILKS: CLICK HERE