Britain's Matthew Wilson has scored 20 points this year and will be out to add to that tally on the Repco Rally Australia, the tenth round in the 2009 World Rally Championship. Radio's Rob Wilkins caught up with the Stobart Ford man recently and spoke to him about his hopes for that event, when he will be gunning for his third points finish in a row and his eighth of the year...
Rally Australia is coming up, it is obviously a new event, what have you heard about it?

Matthew Wilson:
I have heard quite a bit. A little bit about the nature of the stages and how they are. Some of it is meant to be quite quick, I think, and quite technical in other places. But until you see it yourself on the recce, you can't really make any real big judgements. I am looking forward to it.

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How much more difficult is it to take in what is a completely new event?

Obviously it is difficult. But up until a couple of years ago every event I went to was new for me anyway. It is not too much of a problem for us and we have got that use to making pace-notes that it just becomes second nature. It is obviously more difficult than going back to somewhere you have been for the last two or three years. But it is still not a massive problem.
Have you set yourself a target for the event?

We want to keep that points run going. This could be one event, from what we have heard about the stages and everything, that suits us and hopefully we can get inside the top five, which would be really good. But, like I said, until you see it for yourself, and see what it is like, and how the weather is and all that sort of stuff, you can't really make too many pre-plans. But I am sure it will be a good one for us.
After Australia, there are just two events left, looking back on the season to date, have you been pleased with it?

I think it has been a massive step forward this year. We have had three fastest times, which is really promising and every event that we have finished we have been inside the points. There was potential for points on a few more rallies too. My mistake in Portugal, which was a bit of a shame, as it was on the last proper stage and we had a couple of problems in Greece, which put us out. If you look at the time we lost with the SupeRally I am sure we could have been fighting Sebastian Ogier for the second place there. That would have been a fantastic result for us if we could have got that. But that is rallying at the end of the day and that is what you have to put up with. There are highs and lows. But overall it has been a real good season.
You have had lots of points finishes, but how much do you want that first podium?

That is on the agenda. It is what we want - and to try and get it before the end of the year would be really good. I think the main thing though is we know we had the pace for it in Greece, but just didn't quite have the luck. That is encouraging. We know it could have potentially happened there and if you can do it there, you can do it somewhere else. That is what we are looking for and hopefully we can get it before the end of this season.
Next year there will be an extra event on the calendar. Have you thought about 2010 yet?

Not massively. It seems quite strange that we are still only in August, but there are only three events left. Normally at this time of year you are only halfway through and you get finished in December and then you start to look ahead. It is only really the middle of the year and we only have three events to go. It is a little bit different to normal. But I am sure once we get this year out of the way - and we have got a good couple of months break after GB - there will be a lot of planning towards next year and thinking about it a little bit more. At the minute though, you are just concentrating on those last three events.
In 2010 the SupeRally is going to get a major overhaul, it sounds quite complicated. Do you believe it is a step in the right direction?

To be honest I haven't heard what is going to happen with it. It is a new one for me. Everyone has just been focused on what is going to happen with Super 2000 and whether it goes Super 1600 with turbo - all those sorts of things. But I haven't heard about the SupeRally and so I don't know.
Ford and Citroen both re-committed to the WRC recently, but do you think two manufacturers' is enough?

Everybody obviously always wants more manufacturers'. But I think when we do change the type of car and go to Super 2000 or Super 1600 with turbo that might be a different story and you might get some more manufacturers' back. That is what the sport needs. It is fantastic that Ford and Citroen have both committed but everybody always wants more.
Returning to this year, after Australia just Spain and GB remain on the agenda. Have you considered what you want to achieve on those two rounds?

Spain is a real nice tarmac rally. But it is going to be quite strange. It is going to be the only full tarmac rally that we have done since Germany last year. Obviously we drove on tarmac in Cyprus. But that was with a gravel set-up and everything like that. It is not really something you can compare. It seems a hell of a long time since we have done a full tarmac event. Hopefully we can maybe get some testing time before we start that event. That would be quite good after such a long lay off. It is difficult to change disciplines when you have been on gravel all year. It is an event though that I enjoy and I am looking forward to it. It is a rally where if we can just pick up some more points I will be happy.

Then with GB the plan is to just go as quick as we can. We will try and really push and see how high we can finish. I think this year, with it being in October, the weather conditions and everything should be a lot better. The stages should be in fantastic condition, especially at that time of year. For the spectators out watching it should be better too. Just everything should be better. The potential is for a real good event in GB this year.
Will the title battle go right to the wire?

If you look at the rest of the year and how close they have been all year, I am sure it will. Also what the win will have done for Mikko in Finland is massive. We have seen a lot of people, once they have won Finland, become different drivers. That will give him so much confidence. But he just has to try and pick up as many points where he can, like for example in Australia, because Sebastien is going to be really strong in Spain. It definitely will go down to the wire. I have no doubt about it.