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The BP Ford
Abu Dhabi World Rally Team will go to the Wales Rally GB next week still very much in with a chance of taking the manufacturers' title for the third year in succession. Crash.net Radio's
Rob Wilkins caught up with team director Malcolm Wilson recently and spoke to him about the season finale and lots, lots more, including his recent victory on the 2008 Roger Albert Clark Rally in a Ford Escort Mk 2...
Malcolm, first congratulations on your win on the RAC Rally, you must have been very pleased with that result?
Thank-you very much - it was a fantastic weekend and it was great to get back to what rallying use to be like many years ago. We had a terrific run and the car was fantastic. We had no real dramas at all and it was a nice way for me to get back behind the wheel again.
The battle for the 2008 WRC drivers' title may be over, but the manufacturers' crown is still up for grabs. How confident are you that your team can get the job done in Wales?
Last year we finished first and second in GB with Marcus [Gronholm] and Mikko [Hirvonen] and I am confident we can achieve a similar result this year. Mikko and Jari-Matti [Latvala] are two of the most exciting drivers' in the championship. However we are obviously reliant on what [Citroen's] Sebastien [Loeb] and Dani [Sordo] do too. If we get the same result as what happened in Japan then that will be enough for us to retain our third [manufacturers] title by one point. But our guys can only do what they can do and if we do finish first and second that would be great, but we will still, as I said, then be dependent on Sebastien and Dani.
Rally Japan went perfectly with Mikko and Jari-Matti finishing 1-2. It wasn't enough though to stop Sebastien Loeb
from taking that record fifth title. Was that disappointing?
I was really disappointed for Mikko because he has done an incredible job in stepping up and taking on the role that Marcus did for the previous two years. To think that he has scored points on every single rally this year and his lowest position has been fifth is remarkable. It just shows his consistency and pace throughout the year has been terrific. I think he will be in an even stronger position going into next season.
Do you think Loeb will be beatable in 2009?
I really believe so. If you look at the events next year there is a bigger ratio of gravel events, which tends to suit our drivers a little bit more than the asphalt rallies. Also if you look at the performance of our guys on gravel we have always been, I think it is fair to say on every single gravel rally at some point, leading.
Francois Duval had a big accident in Japan and his co-driver, Patrick Pivato was badly injured. Can you update us on how Patrick is doing?